L3Harris, Embraer Bid to Supply New Aerial Tanker to US Air Force

American L3Harris and Brazilian Embraer have inked a partnership deal to develop “Agile Tanker,” a tactical aerial refueling option for the US Air Force.

The partnership seeks to expand Embraer’s KC-390 Millennium, a 35.2-meter (115 feet) medium-weight multi-mission tactical jet deployed to transport cargo and troops and perform paratrooper operations.

L3Harris said the upgrade would include advanced boom operations and mission systems to enhance the aircraft’s agile basing and sustained operations in contested areas.

The cost-effective and distributed tactical refueling, among the tanker’s existing capabilities, would complement the aircraft reboot for greater mission area coverage.

Agile Combat Employment

“US Air Force strategic planners have stated agile combat employment will require refueling platforms optimized to support a disaggregated approach to air dominance in contested logistics environments,” L3Harris Chair and CEO Christopher Kubasik said.

Embraer President and CEO Francisco Gomes Neto said that the strategic partnership between the company’s state-of-the-art platform and systems with L3Harris’ mission-driven solutions would boost US Air Force operational imperatives for logistically contested environments.

The seven operational imperatives reflect the “increasingly urgent roadmap” of US Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall.

The roadmap requires the US Air and Space Forces to “bring about new technologies, thinking, and cultures” in meeting new and emerging threats and challenges.

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