Brazil Asks Panetta for More Military Technology

By Dialogo
April 26, 2012

Brazil welcomed U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on April 24 with calls
for more military technology to increase cooperation.

On his first trip to Latin America as defense secretary, Panetta met with his
counterpart Celso Amorim in Brasilia, for a visit focused on technical matters and
“Brazil imports many things from the United States, but sometimes Brazil
needs competition, exchange in the other direction, and given the entirely peaceful
nature of all our projects, I expressed my expectations that this whole positive
climate that is being created can be reflected in the acquisition of those assets,”
Amorim said at a press conference with Panetta.

“It’s not a matter of scientific research, but rather in order to really
produce,” he added.

The Brazilian demands are framed by a very concrete case: for almost half a
decade, Brasilia has wanted to purchase around 36 fighter planes to modernize its
Air Force, a huge contract worth up to 5 billion dollars, for which U.S. firm
Boeing, French firm Dassault, and Swedish manufacturer Saab are

Brazil does not want only the fighters, but rather all the technology that
accompanies them.

There is no news on that topic, Amorim said, affirming that he understood the
impatience of all the competitors.

“I recognize the importance of these technologies to Brazil,” Panetta said
for his part.

The United States has granted around 4,000 technology export licenses in
favor of Brazil in the last two years, the U.S. official affirmed.

“We have an opportunity to work even more closely (…) To that end
(…) we discussed a number of priority areas (…) that I believe hold some
great promise,” he added, mentioning cybersecurity and military research among

“We stress the importance of defense trade” and recognize its impact on “jobs
and opportunities” for Brazil, Panetta said.

The U.S. defense secretary traveled to Brasilia with the intention of
convincing the South American giant of both countries’ mutual interest in
intensifying their cooperation in the fight against organized crime and on other
issues, such as cybersecurity.

There is another pending issue between the two countries: a contract with
Brazilian aviation firm Embraer, worth 380 million dollars, that was cancelled by
the Pentagon following complaints by a rival U.S. company.

The Pentagon had to hurry to open another public competition in response to
Brazilians’ anger.

Panetta arrived in Brasilia from Colombia, where he announced that he was
authorizing the sale of ten helicopters to fight the insurgency, and he travelled to
Santiago de Chile on April 26.