Brazil’s long-delayed FX-2 fighter competition isn’t over yet but Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet is winning friends in the Brazilian air force, news reports said.
The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a twin-engine, carrier-based, multi-role fighter aircraft based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet.
Boeing has been building partnerships in Brazil along Hornet’s complex and sophisticated supply chain, which are also part of the U.S. company’s wider strategy to expand customer base in the region, irrespective of whether it wins the fighter deal.
The Brazilian air force, awaiting the outcome of the selection process for purchasing 36 fighter jets, is leaning toward the F-18 Super Hornet of the US, which is competing against the French Rafale and the Swedish Gripen, Istoe magazine said.
The weekly magazine published a document it attributes to the commission in charge of analyzing the three aircraft, which concludes that the Boeing F-18 is best suited to air force requirements and notes several of its advantages in terms of price and benefits.
According to the document, the least costly of the three jets being tendered are the Gripen of the Swedish firm Saab, the entire fleet being offered for $4.3 billion.
U.S. aerospace company Boeing Co has offered to transfer more technology to Brazil if the government upgraded its Air Force fighter fleet with the firm’s F-18 Super Hornet jet, a local paper reported.
Boeing vice president of the F/A-18 program, Mike Gibbons, said his company would offer Brazilian “companies the opportunity to construct components for the new Super Hornets and other future projects of Boeing,” according to O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper.
He did not go into detail about the expanded technology deal Boeing was offering, if the government chooses to award the American company Latin America’s most coveted multi-billion-dollar defense contract, Reuters reports.
Brazil is “very likely” to choose France’s Rafale fighter jet to refurbish its air force, government sources say, a decision that would award one of the emerging-market world’s most coveted defense contracts to a jet whose future was in doubt only two weeks ago.
President Dilma Rousseff and her top advisers believe that Dassault Aviation’s bid to sell at least 36 Rafales offers the best terms among the three finalists, the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The other two bidders in the competition are U.S.-based Boeing with its F-18 Super Hornet and Sweden’s Saab with its Gripen.
Patrícia Campos Mello-Estado de São Paulo, 11/02/09
The United States improves its proposal to sell 36 F-18 Boeing fighter jets to the Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira). If the Brazilian government buys the 36 jets from Boeing, Embraer will automatically receive a contract to produce and assemble the wings for 58 Super Hornet jets destined to the United States Navy.
The American government argues that Boeing’s proposal is better than the two other bids because it already includes an additional contract—that of the 58 Navy planes. Meanwhile, the additional gains proposed by Sweden (Saab’s Gripen jets) and France (Dassault’s Rafale jets) depend on third party countries. “This is important, because France has had difficulties selling their fighter jets to other countries,” an American source told the Estado de São Paulo. However, for Boeing to be able to make the delivery deadlines 12 of the F-18 fighter jets would be assembled in the United States and the 24 remaining jets would be assembled in Brazil.
In relation to the transfer of technology, another major concern of the Brazilian government, the United States argues that Swedish and French jets contain American technology—the turbine engines of the Swedish jets and some of the parts of the French jets are produced in the United States. “They have sensitive technology that requires our approval in order to sell to Brazil,” said a source from the American government. “Both the French and the Swedes believe in the United States’ guarantee of the transfer of technology. They believe in it so much that they are willing to offer their jets to Brazil without the fear that the sale would be blocked by the United States.”
Patrícia Campos Mello-Estadão de São Paulo, 11/02/09
According to Ellen Tauscher, the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security of the United States, the fighter jet sale would help deepen the relations between the United States and Brazil.
The sale of F-18 Boeing fighter jets to the Brazilian Air Force will strengthen the ties between the governments of the United States and of Brazil and will create a more dynamic strategic relationship between the two countries. This was the message of the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, Ellen Tauscher. “Its a great opportunity to strengthen our relationship with Brazil,” said Tauscher reporting directly to the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, after being in Brazil in August to deliver a letter from the Secretary to the Brazilian government.
“The most important aspect of this deal is our relationship with the Brazilian people and the Brazilian government,” said Tauscher in an interview with the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de São Paulo. Commenting on the advantages of the French Rafale Dassault fighter jets, Taucher affirmed, “We are not confused about what we are offering; we still have the better planes, the biggest aerial-space company in the world, and we are still the United States of America. We believe that, in the end, these are the important parameters.”
According to Tauscher, the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, and the American President, Barack Obama, are all personally involved in the sale. “Frankly, it would be a shame if Brazil does not take the best planes and the best opportunity.” Click to continue reading the interview…