Embraer/FMA CBA 123 Vector

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CBA 123 Vector / IA 70 Vector
Embraer-FMA CBA-123 Vector (IA-70 Parana) (PT-ZVE).jpg
Displaying at Farnborough '90
Role Light business aircraft or
19-seat regional airliner
Manufacturer Embraer/Fábrica Militar de Aviones
First flight 18 July 1990
Status Prototype
Number built 2, third prototype unfinished
Unit cost
>USD$5 million

The Embraer/FMA CBA 123 Vector (originally EMB 123 for Embraer and IA 70 for FMA) was a 1990 turboprop aircraft designed for regional flights, to carry up to 19 passengers. The program arose from a partnership between the Brazilian company Embraer and the Argentine FMA. The project was an advanced turboprop aircraft for its time, including advanced technology in avionics, aerodynamics, and propulsion.[1]

Design and development[edit]

By 1985, economic integration of South America seemed to be in progress with advances in the negotiations of Mercosur between the Brazilian and Argentine governments. Meanwhile, in 1985, the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer, having commenced production of its Brasilia 30-seat turboprop airliner, started the design process for a 19-seat airliner to replace the aging Bandeirante. In 1986, as a way of encouraging partnership between both countries, an agreement to develop a Brazilian-Argentine aircraft was signed between Embraer and the Argentine company Fabrica Militar de Aviones (FMA).[2] The name "CBA" stood for "Cooperación Brasil-Argentina" (Spanish), and "Cooperação Brasil-Argentina" (Portuguese), meaning Brazil-Argentina Cooperation.[3]

The costs and workload of the project were divided between Embraer (67%) and FMA (33%). The aircraft was designed as a high technology turboprop aircraft, to be fully certified under USA FAR 25.[3] It was powered by two Garrett TPF351 turboprop engines (more powerful derivatives of Garret's popular Garrett TPE331 mounted on pylons on the rear fuselage and driving six-bladed pusher configuration propellers.[4] This was planned to allow a smaller wing to be used, giving a higher cruise speed, while also improving increase passenger comfort.[5] The design had wings with supercritical airfoils, used a FADEC system for engine control, plus EICAS and EFIS avionics systems.[6] The "Vector" name was chosen by an international competition including more than 6,000 proposals.

The first prototype of the Vector flew on 18 July 1990,[2] and the flight occurred without any problem. The official presentation on 30 July 1990 was attended by Brazil President Fernando Collor de Mello and Argentine President Carlos Menem.

Program cancellation[edit]

Unfortunately for Embraer and FMA, the high technology which would ensure the success of the CBA 123 was one of the reasons of its demise. The final unit cost of the aircraft — US$5 million — was too high to be absorbed by the market. Also, new investments from the Brazilian Government became unavailable due to the political crisis caused by the impeachment process and resignation of President Collor de Mello.

The third prototype (LV-X134), to be built by FMA, was stopped at 80% (est.) of building and now is stored in Argentina [7]

The CBA 123 Vector project, which cost US$300 million, was therefore cancelled, with only two prototypes built. Although a failure, the project gave Embraer maturity to work with new technologies, which led to the development of the successful Embraer ERJ 145 family of jets. Some of these new technologies on the CBA 123 were described in the Federal Aviation Administration response to a request for certification of the aircraft: "This airplane incorporates a number of novel or unusual design features, such as digital avionics including, but not necessarily limited to, an electronic flight instrument system (EFIS), attitude and heading reference system (AHRS), engine indication and crew alerting system (EICAS), and full authority digital engine control (FADEC), which are vulnerable to lightning and high-intensity radiated fields (HIRF) external to the airplane. In addition to these novel or unusual design features, the Model CBA-123 also incorporates other unrelated novel or unusual design features. Those features will be the subject of separate notices of proposed special conditions.[8]


Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1993-94 [9]

General characteristics


  • Maximum speed: 593 km/h (321 knots, 370 mph) at 7,315 m (24,000 ft)
  • Cruise speed: 569 km/h (307 knots, 353 mph) at 9,145 m (30,000 ft) (econ cruise)
  • Stall speed: 163 km/h (88 knots, 102 mph) flaps down, power off
  • Range: 1,852 km (1,000 nmi, 1,151 mi) 19 passengers
  • Service ceiling: 10,670 m (35,000 ft)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "IA 70 / CBA 123". 
  2. ^ a b Air International September 1990, pp. 122–123.
  3. ^ a b Air International September 1990, p. 126.
  4. ^ Air International September 1990, p. 127.
  5. ^ Air International September 1990, p. 124.
  6. ^ Air International September 1990, pp. 126–127.
  7. ^ R.b, German. "Pasión Aeronáutica Argentina: Una Joya en CBA...!!!". 
  8. ^ FAA Certification.
  9. ^ Lambert 1993, pp. 143–145.
  • Lambert, Mark (ed.). Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1993-94. Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Data Division, 1993. ISBN 0-7106-1066-1.
  • "South American Vector". Air International, September 1990, Vol 39 No. 5. pp. 122–128.

External links[edit]