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Brazil opens fighter jet tender inquiry

AFP/The Local · 8 Apr 2010, 07:27

Published: 08 Apr 2010 07:27 GMT+02:00

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Brazilian prosecutors have responded to a request from a Brazilian individual to open the inquiry into the tender to supply the Latin American nation with modern fighter jets, a prosecution source told AFP Wednesday of prosecutor Jose Alfredo de Paulo Silva's decision.

On Monday, officials said President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had now put off any announcement on the winner of the bid, which had been due after Easter, until mid-May.

The finalists now battling it out in the final stages of the tender are France's Rafale made by Dassault, Sweden's Gripen NG by Saab, and the F/A-18 Super Hornet manufactured by US giant Boeing.

But Lula's stated preference for the ultra-sophisticated, semi-stealth Rafale jet has angered the air force, which preferred the much cheaper and easier-to-maintain Gripen.

The Rafale has never been sold abroad, but after Lula's comments it is now seen as the front-runner to clinch the contract to supply some 36 fighter jets to the South American nation.

"The Brazilian government, because of external political factors, has decided to choose the Rafale, ruling out the Gripen and Super Hornet which were put forward at a lower price. That is against economic principles," the Brazilian opponent who registered the complaint said.

A spokesman for interior ministry told AFP the prosecutor would now "gather information to decide whether... there is a civil case to answer." The inquiry could last as long as a year, the source added.

Throughout the competition, Lula and Defense Minister Nelson Jobim have underscored technology transfer as their top priority so Brazil could not only build its own next-generation fighters but also export them.

Jobim said Wednesday that he would deliver his report on the tender to Lula next Wednesday, April 14th.

"I have to finish it and present it next week," Hobim told lawmakers from the foreign relations and defense committee.

Lula will then call a meeting of his national defense council, and announce his decision after hearing its advice.

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Jobim stressed that the decision will take into account "the development of the national industry and the total transfer of technology."

He added it was "not an international tender in which there are criteria to take into account such as the price. It's a choice by the government which will take into account strategic, long-term criteria."

France's jet bid was bolstered by the fact that Brazil has a strategic pact with Paris that has already seen it sign a 12-billion-dollar deal in early 2009 to buy 50 helicopters and five submarines from France.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:06 April 8, 2010 by planethero
A good chance for the prosecutor to make some cash!

By the way, who is about to invade Brazil anyhoo?
11:06 April 8, 2010 by Nemesis
Sweden needs to push as hard as possible to ge this deal.

This deal would secure jobs in Sweden. Failing that secure jobs in France wiht the French bid.
11:49 April 8, 2010 by marcoscerutti
No one so far as I know... But with the amount of oil government is about to extract from deep ocean.. hehe who knows...
12:33 April 8, 2010 by Audrian
This is the murky world of weapons trade.
17:38 April 8, 2010 by Bensonradar
It would be nice to know a bit more about the Brazilian individual. Might he or she be Sweden's Gripen sales representative out there? Only joking.

What is the commercial logic of buying a more expensive, semi-stealth Rafales compared to cheaper and easier-to-maintain Gripens?

Why did Lula not listen to his air force who said their preference was the cheaper and easier-to-maintain Swedish fighter?

As for technology transfer, who is kidding who? Are the French going to hand over blueprints for the Rafale and then let Brazil compete against them and build a version of it for export? France would not be that stupid and shortsighted.

Sounds too odd. Is someone paying someone slush money here? The arms industry has a dirty record.
18:28 April 8, 2010 by free range cheese
Considering the purpose of a fighter jet is to kill the other guy before he kills you and the type of murderous savages the Americans are, if i were in the Brazilian air force and my life depended the vehicle I was piloting, I'd want the FA-18!
16:01 April 9, 2010 by babychuma
Ha ha free range cheese, I thought the same thing. Who in their right mind buys a weapons system from a country that hasn't won a war in a century.


I'm torn though, the Gripen deserves a shot, nice plane and jobs for Sweden.
19:32 April 9, 2010 by munched
Gripen sales pitch #1: Pilot bails out and plane crashes in downtown Stockholm. (Luckily it crashed into water) Sales pitch #2. National newspaper's front page photo of Gripen with nose on tarmack after landing gear failure. Sales pitch #3. All Gripens recently grounded by Swedish military because of unpredictable ejection-seat issues. Who could resist? Oh yeah, I'd really want to sink a few billion of my electors dollars into those puppies..
19:39 April 9, 2010 by JerryGefner
The flooding in Rio de Janeiro and the flying Dengue Mosquito it seems that one jet can buy many lost homes in the flooding and hospitals to combat Dengue.

It would be wise to invest to alleviate poverty and contribute to dignity for the Brazilian population.
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