France loses out on Brazil jets deal: report

By on Monday, December 16th, 2013

France will lose out in its bid to win a multibillion-dollar fighter jet contract with Brazil, the Folha de Sao Paulo daily reported Saturday.

The newspaper set France’s $4 billion proposal for 36 Rafale fighter jets, from a consortium led by French giant Dassault, will be shot down for cost reason. It did not say who would be the likely winner of the highly prized contract.

The French bid is up against Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Gripen, made by Sweden’s Saab, for its FX-2 program.

French President Francois Hollande held talks Thursday with his Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia during which he backed sharing technological know-how and saluted increasing bilateral trade.

With Brazil seeking to retire its Mirage 2000 jets at the end of the year, France has been pushing the merits of the Rafale, initially believing it had a deal under Hollande’s predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy.

Rousseff’s predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, had said in 2009 that Brazil would plump for the Rafale but he left office before a deal could be put together and Rousseff then decided to reassess the options.

Indications in Brazil are that Rousseff is not ready to approve such a big-ticket purchase going into a year in which she seeks re-election and when her government is already under fire from voters for the estimated $11 billion cost of staging the World Cup.

Folha predicted a final decision would not come before 2015.

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