In defending the interest of the Brazilian State, two class entities filed a lawsuit against Boeing: the Brazilian Association of Defense and Security Material Industries (ABIMDE) and the Association of Aerospace Industries of Brazil (AIAB). They are the authors of a public civil action that aims to make the US company interrupt the systematic capture and hiring of engineers from companies that are part of the country’s Industrial Defense Base (BID, in Portuguese). The co-option of these highly qualified professionals places the survival of these companies at risk and, above all, threatens national sovereignty, one of the foundations of the Federal Constitution, provided for in article 1, item I.
“The impact is already significant: ten of the most important strategic companies in the defense sector have already had engineers co-opted by Boeing. Some lost about 70% of the team in specific and essential areas for the business”, explains Roberto Gallo, president of Abimde.
The issue is strategic for the country and national sovereignty, representing the State’s autonomy over its political, social, military, and economic organization. Any threat to the companies that make up the Defense Industrial Base (BID) puts this balance at risk since BID comprises state-owned or private companies that constantly update technologies for the Navy, Air Force, and Army. They guarantee that the defense area’s innovation and development are under national control, safeguarding the autonomy of the Armed Forces and, therefore, of the Brazilian State.
Highly qualified engineers are co-opted
The professionals co-opted by Boeing are mainly from the aerospace segment. They are highly qualified engineers trained in public institutions (such as ITA, UFMG, and UFSCar) with more than ten-year experience. They took part in projects in the Defense and Security area or held knowledge essential for national sovereignty. And, precisely because of this, they had access to qualified information and classified data on the country’s strategic projects.
According to the lawsuit, all the most relevant Aerospace and Defense Brazilian companies have recently lost engineers in this process. Among them, Embraer, Akaer, Avibras, AEL Sistemas, Safran, Mac Jee, and others.
In the specific case of Embraer, there is a history that makes the situation more critical. Boeing owns proprietary information to which it had access over two years (2018 to 2020). Boeing and Embraer negotiated a partnership to create a joint venture during that period. Days before definitively sealing the agreement, which provided for a US$ 4.2 billion payment to Embraer, Boeing unilaterally terminated it.
“The AIAB advocates free competition and a free market. But such principles are not absolute. They must be subject to constitutional imperatives such as national sovereignty, as outlined in Article 170 of Brazil’s Constitution. What is at stake, therefore, is something much greater than any individual or collective interests”, says Julio Shidara, AIAB’s President. He also reinforces that the lawsuit intends to stop such systematic hiring, which leaves a trail of predatory actions in the country’s BID companies, until alternatives are discussed to guarantee national sovereignty’s preservation. “In decades, BID has never faced a situation like the one we are now experiencing. Our current capacity was not built overnight. It took decades of national collective effort and massive public and private investments. We cannot allow an accelerated degradation to occur, and it is happening as the facts have shown”, concludes Shidara.