Embraer seeks sub-Saharan Africa air-security deal

Indo Asian News Service

Waterkloof (South Africa), Sep 22 (IANS/EFE) Brazil's Embraer, the world's third-largest manufacturer of commercial aircraft, has its sights set on managing trans-border air control systems for all of sub-Saharan Africa, company officials said here Friday.

Executives in Embraer's sales division for that region spoke of the company's plans during the Africa Aerospace and Defense 2012 trade fair at Waterkloof airbase outside Pretoria.

Embraer, in partnership with Brazil's Atech, an air-traffic control company, and other firms specializing in radar and security systems, are in contact with the region's governments concerning defense of their air spaces.

'High-level contacts are being maintained with the Brazilian government's support, and our goal is to reach all of the region's countries, respecting of course the United Nations' weapons restrictions on certain countries,' a top company executive told EFE on condition of anonymity.

The model is similar to what the Brazilian government successfully uses to monitor the Amazon jungle, both in terms of protecting its air space and surveying ground activity, the executive said.

It consists of a radar and air-traffic control system complemented by the the deployment of Embraer EMB AEW&C surveillance aircraft and Super Tucano fighter planes.

The idea is to carry out the project in partnership with local companies and establish a training center for the system's future controllers.

These contracts could be extremely lucrative for the Brazilian company.

Piracy, drug- and human-trafficking, poaching and the activities of illegal armed groups are the main defense challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa.

Six companies were present at Brazil's pavilion during the AAD 2012, a sign of the African market's importance, said retired Adm. Carlos Afonso Pierantoni, executive vice president of the Brazilian Defense and Security Industries Association, or ABIMDE.

According to ABIMDE, Africa accounts for 10 percent of the global defense market and its share is growing at a rate of 5 percent annually.

Meanwhile, Brazilian aerospace firm Friuli has announced an upcoming project with South Africa's Realtech to manufacture missiles for the Super Tucano aircraft, adding that they will be delivered to the Peruvian army.

Alexandre Correa, Friuli's international business director, said Friday the contract will be hammered out in the coming weeks and production could begin within three months.