SAO PAULO Feb 5 Brazilian defense contractor
Avibras will join planemaker Embraer SA and the local
unit of Israeli defense company Elbit Systems in
developing unmanned aircraft in Brazil, the companies said on
Avibras will take a 9 percent stake in a joint venture known
as Harpia Systems, which will expand its lineup to include the
Falcao unmanned aircraft that Avibras has developed for Brazil's
"Avibras' participation increases domestic shareholding in
Harpia Systems," Embraer's defense chief Luiz Carlos Aguiar said
in a statement, adding that the joint venture now qualifies as a
strategic defense company under Brazilian law.
Embraer will hold on to its 51 percent stake in Harpia,
while Elbit's Brazilian unit AEL Systems will reduce its stake
from 49 percent to 40 percent.
Harpia is one of several new defense projects Embraer has
undertaken in recent years to take advantage of Brazil's
burgeoning military budget and offset the volatile sales cycle
in commercial aviation.
Defense contracts will likely contribute 21 percent of the
Embraer's revenue this year, the company said on Monday, more
than doubling its share in five years.