Brazil close to decision on jet fighter deal

By Dialogo
April 03, 2012

Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim said on 31 March, that the country is in the “final chapters” of awarding a lucrative jet fighter deal and should decide within a few months.

The Rafale fighter, made by French firm Dassault Aviation, is up against U.S. aviation giant Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and Swedish manufacturer Saab’s Gripen jet for a tender from Brazil to supply 36 multi-role combat aircraft.

The contract has been variously valued at between $4 billion and $7 billion.

“We are entering the final chapters,” Amorim told the magazine IstoÉ. “I have an expectation that the matter can be resolved in this semester (first half of the year),” he said.

A senior Brazilian government source said on 2 April that President Dilma Rousseff would decide which fighter jet to buy after a visit to Washington in April and the French presidential election in May.

Amorim has previously said June is a likely date for the announcement.

In 2011, Brazil delayed a decision on the purchase following a major budget cut, but the jets are needed to beef up the country’s air force.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said before a visit to Brazil in December in 2011 that he was confident the Rafale could beat off rival bids because the aircraft’s technology was superior.