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United States Promises to Transfer Military Technology in Order to Win Contract, Brazil Says

By Dialogo
February 25, 2010

Brazilian President Luiz da Silva is leaning towards France because they promise a full transfer of technology, whatever that means. Why doesn't the US do the same, since it's a multi-billion contract and Brazil is the most important player in the region?

The United States has promised to transfer the military technology associated
with F-18 fighter jets to Brazil if Boeing wins the contract for thirty-six
airplanes that the South American country is seeking to buy, Brazilian Defense
Minister Nelson Jobim said today.

The administration in Washington “affirms that it supports the project;
they’re talking about around 98 percent (technology transfer),” Jobim told the press
after a meeting with his U.S. counterpart, Robert Gates. Nevertheless, he
acknowledged that the bid submitted by the French firm Dassault is ahead in the
public competition.

“The president (Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva) has expressed his political
predisposition with regard to France, but it’s evident that there has to be a
technical foundation for that, and that is precisely what I’m in the middle of
working on,” he affirmed.

Jobim is currently analyzing the details of the three warplane bids, which
include Gripen fighter jets made by the Swedish firm SAAB in addition to Boeing’s
F-18s and Dassault’s Rafales, and he said that he will make his recommendation to
Lula within twenty days.

After that, the Brazilian president will submit the matter to the National
Defense Council, an advisory body, and after receiving its opinion, will make the
final decision. Jobim affirmed that the winning bid should plan for training
Brazilian personnel on the new equipment, in addition to technology transfer. In
this regard, the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has communicated to the
Brazilian government that the administration will authorize the handover of
“relevant information and the transfer of needed technologies” by Boeing.

Jobim said that he is now analyzing what “those adjectives” mean, having
received the U.S. proposal. The other two bids also include technology transfer,
even in the case of SAAB, which builds fighters that incorporate parts and systems
from various countries, such as the United States, Germany, Israel, the United
Kingdom, and South Africa.

Gates requested today’s meeting with Jobim, who had initially planned only a
visit to New York, and in the meeting the two agreed on a trip by the U.S. secretary
to Brazil in April, according to the minister. Jobim also confirmed an upcoming
visit by Clinton to Brazil, although he did not give dates. In his meeting with
Gates, the Brazilian minister raised the subject of the “deep distrust South America
has with regard to the United States,” he explained. Gates admitted this lack of
trust, since “there are simply countries that speak ill” of the United States, Jobim
said. The Pentagon did not make any statement on the subject.

Jobim, who left for Cuba to join President Lula, who will arrive in Havana
today, said that one of the sources of tension is the U.S. embargo on the Caribbean
island and urged a change in the U.S. policy of isolation. He asserted, in addition,
that U.S. cooperation in rebuilding Haiti is helping to lessen the distrust present
in the region. Jobim admitted that in the first days following the earthquake there
was tension over the respective competencies of the U.S. troops and the United
Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), led militarily by Brazil, but he
said that the issue was quickly resolved.

The important thing now is to facilitate financing for rebuilding projects,
he said. Brazil has proposed building a small hydroelectric plant with the capacity
to generate thirty-two megawatts of energy for Port-au-Prince, with an estimated
cost of 200 million dollars. “We need help for this, and the United States is ready
to help,” said Jobim, who discussed the subject with Gates and with the chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, with whom he also met in Washington.