Wed, Mar 03, 2010
Facing Competition From Dassault Rafale And Saab Gripen NG
The U.S. Government hopes Brazil will enter into a
multi-billion dollar contract to purchase F/A-18 Hornets when it
buys 36 new fighter jets, and some see the arrival of the U.S.S
Carl Vinson (file photo, right) in Rio de Janeiro as a tactic to
convince the Brazilian government that the Hornet is the best plane
for them to buy.
The aircraft carrier is officially in Brazil to improve ties
with the Brazilian Navy, according to U.S. Rear Admiral Ted Branch.
The carrier has been deployed in relief efforts for Haiti following
January's devastating earthquake.
But the fact that the carrier arrived with Boeing
representatives on board have some saying the visit is a sign of a
U.S. push to convince Brazil to buy its airplanes.
The international news service AFP reports that the Hornet is
considered a long shot for the Brazilian Air Force, because the
U.S. has in the past refused to allow that country to export
airplanes employing U.S. technology.
Brazil is also considering the French Dassault Rafale and the
Swedish Saab Gripen NG. Brazilian Air Force General Juniti Saito
said last week that Brazil is expected to name the winner by the
end of March, but would not give a date certain.
F/A 18 Super Hornet
The choice, Saito said would be a "political and strategic
decision" made by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The
Brazilian Air Force in the process of conducting a technical
evaluation of the three bids.
Sources say President Lula is leaning towards the Rafale,
because France has said it will give Brazil access to all the
technology that goes into the airplane. Brazil reportedly would
like to be able to manufacture its own fighter jets. But another
source says the Air Force has indicated it actually prefers the
less-expensive Gripen NG jet.
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