Elbit Systems expands Brazilian Embraer collaboration to UAVs

Elbit's Brazilian subsidiary AEL will jointly develop and sell UAVs and their avionics.

Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) is expanding its collaboration with Brazilian aerospace company Embraer SA (NYSE: ERJ; Bovespa: BR3) to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Elbit Systems' Brazilian subsidiary AEL Sistemas SA and Embraer subsidiary Embraer Defesa e Segurança SA will set up a joint venture to develop, manufacture, market, and support unmanned aircraft systems and their avionics. Embaer will own the majority stake in the venture.

The companies signed the agreement at the LAAD 2011 Latin American Aerospace & Defense Exhibition in Rio de Janeiro.

Embraer has a longstanding and successful relationship with AEL, even before Elbit Systems acquired it. AEL was one of the first suppliers of systems for Embraer's turboprop Tucano basic trainer and the subsonic fighter AMX in the 1980s and 1990s. Currently, AEL provides the avionics for the Super Tucano light attack and advanced trainer aircraft and for the F-5M jet fighter that Embraer is modernizing for the Brazilian Air Force.

AEL director general Shlomo Erez said, "This strategic agreement with Embraer marks a significant milestone for AEL towards the realization of our goal regarding the development of UAS competencies in Brazil. This cooperation with Embraer will leverage new business opportunities and enhance Brazilian know-how in the development and manufacture of unmanned systems, offering latest generation technology in order to meet the specific demands and needs of our country."

Embraer Defesa e Segurança president Luiz Carlos Aguiar said that the collaboration with AEL would enable the two companies to offer the Brazilian government with cost-effective unmanned aerial solutions for defense and security. "In addition, these vehicles allow for dual-use for monitoring of ports, agricultural, forest, coastal areas, and traffic," he added.

Elbit Systems' share price rose 0.6% on Nasdaq yesterday to $55.99, giving a market cap of $2.39 billion, and rose 0.1% in early trading on the TASE today to NIS 193.90.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 13, 2011

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