Brazil is negotiating to buy 36 Dassault Rafales and France intends to join development of the Embraer KC-390 tanker/transport, and buy 10 to replace its C-130 Hercules. That's the gist of a statement from the Brazilian defense ministry on the occasion of French president Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to meet his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Photo: Dassault Aviation
The statement (which is in Portugese) does not say Brazil has formally selected the Rafale for its FX-2 fighter requirement, but negotiations are clearly in their final stages, indicating the Boeing F/A-18E/F and Saab Gripen are out of the running barring any last-minute hitches. More news could come later this week.
A Rafale deal would follow recent arms agreements with Brazil that include local production of French submarines and Eurocopter EC725 transport helicopters. Lula had already signalled the Rafale was the favorite, saying that France was the only FX-2 bidder to offer Brazil full technology transfer. Brazil would be the first export buyer for the Rafale.
The Rafales would be assembled in Brazil by Embraer, presumably. The defense-ministry statement says the presidents have agreed that Brazil and France should be strategic partners in aeronautics, and Sarkozy has put French industry "at the disposal" of the Brazilian manufacturer to contribute to development of the twin-turbofan KC-390.