The Brazilian air force confirms it has completed the technical evaluation of the F-X2 project, but has yet to provide the document to the defense ministry.
There’s been much speculation about the outcome following a report in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo (already highlighted here on Ares) that the Gripen appears to have come out on top.
The Brazilian air force points out that merely the technical review is done.
After Brazilian president president Lula last year came out in favor of Rafale – before final bids were submitted – both Boeing and Saab presented even more aggressive business propositions than already planned. How those will be looked at remains to be seen.
The report that Rafale is not in favor has caused some unease in France, where backers of the aircraft are hungry for their first export order.
As to the timing of a decision, that remains murky. General elections are due in October, including for the replacement of Lula who is constitutionally barred from a third consecutive term. Defense minister Nelson Jobim apparently is due to step down in April to run his campaign in the run-up for the October elections.
Given the technical evaluation is now complete, Brazil should still be able to make a source selection before the defense minister departs, even though there has been speculation that may not be the case.