PARIS — Brazil is to take “some time” to decide on whether it will choose French Rafale fighter jets to modernize its air force, President Dilma Rousseff said Dec. 11 during a visit to Paris.
“We have pushed back the choice ... and this will take some time depending on how long it takes the Brazilian economy to recover,” she said at a joint press conference with French counterpart Francois Hollande.
Brazil is looking to buy 36 multi-purpose jets to modernize its air force — a multi-billion dollar deal — and the issue has been at the center of bilateral talks in recent years.
The Rafale fighter, built by French firm Dassault Aviation, is up against U.S. aviation giant Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and Swedish manufacturer Saab’s Gripen for a contract valued at between $4 billion and $7 billion.
In addition to technology transfer, Brazil, the world’s sixth-largest economy, wants some of the jet fighters to be assembled in the country, which according to some analysts might favor the Rafale.
In late September, a senior Brazilian government official told AFP on condition of anonymity there would be no decision on the contract before next year.
He dismissed suggestions that Brazil, which is currently experiencing sluggish economic growth, already favored a particular plane.