A decision in Brazil’s F-X2 fighter competition has slid into 2012. Lt. Gen. Gilberto Antonio Saboya Burnier, commander-general of air operations for the Brazilian air force, now projects a contract award in the first quarter of next year.Importantly, he says, there is not much more slack in the schedule, which has already seen repeated slips in making a decision. The commander warns that the Brazilian air force needs to see the new aircraft enter service in 2017, and if the decision is delayed further, that could be at risk.
The 2017 date is critical because that is when the first remanufactured and modernized F-5s will need to be retired. Embraer is still upgrading some of the air force’s F-5s.
One of the new nuances in the contest appears to be a Brazilian interest in making sure the fighter it acquires will provide proper interoperability when serving with coalition forces, according to an industry official. That could reflect Brazil's observing what happened with the NATO-led air campaign in Libya, where non-NATO states contributed.
In the fight for F-X2 are the Boeing F/A-18E/F, Dassault Rafale and Saab Gripen.