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  • What Now For F-X2? Boeing, Saab, Dassault Left to Wonder
    Posted by Robert Wall 7:18 AM on Aug 05, 2011

    The resignation of Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim raises further questions about whether the Brazilian government will move forward with its F-X2 fighter plan.

    Jobim fell afoul of President Dilma Rousseff and was effectively forced out because of an internal spat and disparaging comments he is alleged to have made about a colleague. But a difference of opinion between Jobim and Rousseff over proceeding with the F-X2 fighter purchase also appears to have strained relations between Rousseff and the defense minister she inherited from her predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

    The source-selection process between the Boeing F/A-18E/F, Dassault Rafale and Saab Gripen has already slowed under Rousseff. The latest official word has been that a type selection could still come this year, although a contract would not. However, there has been increasing suspicion that timeframe would not hold.

    Rousseff is not considered a proponent of big defense spending and instead would like to focus the government's efforts on other activities, such as curbing inflation.

    With Jobim gone, it would appear the door may be open for a further delay of the F-X2 program. At that stage, the validity of the bids submitted by the three contestants would likely expire, and a new round of bidding may become necessary.

    Even if the F-X2 proceeds, Jobim's departure could impact the outcome. Jobim has been vocal about his concerns regarding U.S. technology transfer, so his departure could improve the prospects for Boeing, at least slightly.

    All ears will now be on Celso Amorim, the new defense minister, to hear his first pronouncement on F-X2.

    Tags: ar99, Boeing, Saab, Dassault, Brazil

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