Brazil's aviation major Embraer announced Wednesday it had signed an agreement with India to supply aircraft for the development of an indigenous airborne early warning and control system.
The Indian government had last year cleared a proposal from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to develop the system using indigenous radars. The total programme is expected to cost Rs.18 billion.
Embraer announced at the Aero India 2005 show here it had signed a memorandum of understanding with DRDO to support the new airborne early warning and control system's development.
"The new asset will be based on the EMB 145 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (aircraft)," said a statement from Embraer.
It said the EMB 145 was one of the world's best selling aircraft for surveillance and reconnaissance.
"Embraer's commitment to contribute its previous experience in platform development and complex systems integration was a key factor in DRDO's selection," it noted.
The Brazilian firm, which had earlier signed another agreement with New Delhi to supply five Legacy executive jets that will be used for VVIP travel, said it hoped to sell three EMB 145 aircraft to India.
"Indian government analysts and Embraer company engineers are collecting necessary technical data on the aircraft for the study. At the request of the Indian government, an Embraer team recently visited DRDO and held in-depth discussions to support DRDO personnel in their task," the statement said.
An order for additional EMB 145 aircraft "could materialise in the future, based on a successful first development phase", it said.
"The company considers this partnership a significant milestone with DRDO, an institution renowned to be one of the leading high technology developers in Asia," said Embraer's executive vice-president for defence market, Romualdo Barros.
"The Indian aerospace industry has reached remarkable achievements and Embraer is proud and thrilled to participate in this initiative. Besides the upcoming contract to supply our EMB 145 platform, we could be involved in some engineering work."
India has signed a contract with Israel to buy three Phalcon airborne early warning control systems. This is in addition to the development of the indigenous systems.