Friday, January 21, 2011

Brazil to Reopen Fighter Jet Competition

Brazil is reopening the competition for its FX-2 fighter program, a deal once thought to be all but wrapped up for the French Rafale, Bloomberg reported Jan. 20. Dassault Aviation's Rafale was once thought to be the favorite in the Brazil fighter jet competition. (Dassault Aviation)
The original competitors included an eclectic variety of jets, including Lockheed Martin's F-16 Fighting Falcon, Boeing's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EADS's Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab's JAS-39 Gripen NG, Sukhoi's Su-35 Flanker and the Dassault Rafale.
Brazil's air force eventually narrowed the field to three competitors: the American F/A-18E/F, the Swedish Gripen NG and the French Rafale.
Under the previous administration of President Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva, Brazil was widely expected to choose the Rafale due to the burgeoning relationship between France and Brazil. In fact, da Silva had voiced his preference for the French aircraft openly on more than one occasion, despite the objections of the Brazilian air force. The Gripen NG was reportedly the air arm's preferred choice.
With election of his hand-picked successor, Dilma Roussef, Brazil's first female president and a former Marxist guerrilla, many observers expected the $4 billion program for 36 fighter aircraft to be terminated in favor of more pressing domestic spending priorities.

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