Brazil to discuss fighter jet purchase

Brazil to discuss fighter jet purchase
Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Wednesday that discussions would "soon" take place with his successor Dilma Rousseff with a view to deciding who would win a multi-billion-dollar fighter jet tender.

“We are going to talk over the issue of the fighters, me, her (Rousseff) and (Defense Minister Nelson) Jobim,” he said in a joint media conference with Rousseff in Brasilia.

Brazil has pushed off for months declaring a winner in an international competition to supply it with 36 modern fighter aircraft for a value of between $4 billion and $7 billion.

France’s Rafale by Dassault, Sweden’s Gripe NG by Saab, and the US-made F/A-18 Super Hornet by Boeing are all on the shortlist for the tender.

Lula initially said a year ago that negotiations were underway to buy the Rafale, but then stepped back from that position to see through the contest.

A final decision was put on hold since March until Brazil’s presidential election was over.

Rousseff, Lula’s former cabinet chief, easily won a Sunday runoff and will take over as head of state on January 1 next year.

Both Lula and Rousseff will be attending a G20 summit in South Korea November 11-12 at which French President Nicolas Sarkozy and US President Barack Obama were also expected.

Brazil has insisted on full transfer of technology in the deal so it can build its own advanced military aircraft in the future.

Seperately, media reports indicated on Wednesday that South Africa could not afford to keep all of the 26 Gripen aircraft that it has ordered in the air. The news was based on an internal report from the country’s defence ministry.

A total of 16 Gripen aircraft have so far been delivered to South Africa.

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