Brazil's last doubts over the Rafale combat aircraft have been lifted by India's choice of the French-designed plane, but Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff says she will not make any official announcements until after the French presidential election (held in two-rounds, the first on April 22, the final run-off on May 6) so that no political mileage can be got out of the deal.
Brazilian government sources told Reuters, on condition of anonymity, that Rousseff and her main advisors are now convinced that the offer made by Dassault Aviation to meet Brazil's tender for 36 aircraft is better than Boeing's with its F-18 or Saab's with the Gripen. “The India deal changed everything,” one of the sources said. “With India's decision, it's now very likely the Rafale will be the winner here,” the sources added.
Like India, Brazil eventually wants to build the Rafale domestically and therefore the sale comes with a large chunk of technology transfer.
Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim paid a visit last week to his Indian counterpart and was able to consult non-confidential documents that show the path India took to reaching its decision to enter into exclusive negotiations with Dassault for 126 Rafales.
But the sources said that were these to fail, then Rousseff would have another think.
photo credit: Christina Mackenzie