Back in September Embraer formalized the creation of a joint-venture between its defense division, Embraer Defesa e Seguranca S.A. and Elbit Systems’ Brazilian subsidiary Aeroelectronica (AEL) Sistemas to create Harpia Sistemas. Embraer Defesa will own 51% and AEL will take the remaining 49% of the company. Harpia Sistemas will engage in the field of unmanned aircraft, avionics systems, simulators and logistics support. Harpia will eventually maintain, modify and offer the Hermes and other unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to Brazil and other countries in Latin America.
Now Embraer has released an image of a Predator class medium-altitude UAV, under development by the recently established Harpia Sistemas. The aircraft is distinguished by a twin-boomed tailed, aft end fuselage propeller and dolphin-shaped nose to potentially house a beyond line-of-sight antenna. No information on data or capabilities was provided, however the aircraft is likely to be one step above the performance of the Hermes 450, already in service with the Brazilian Air Force.
Embraer is rapidly expanding its defense division and joint-ventures like Harpia are key factors to develop the necessary future defense technologies in today’s highly competitive defense market. Embraer’s main priority is to equip and support the Brazilian UAV market, but it is clear that Embraer has its eyes in dominating the Latin American market by following the steps of the successful EMB-314 Super Tucano primary trainer and the highly anticipated KC-390 cargo aircraft.