BRASILIA: Defense Minister Nelson Jobim predicted that the process of choosing a vendor for the new fighter of the Brazilian Air Force (F-X2 program) will be resumed in November, after the conclusion of the presidential elections. According to Jobim, the President expressed his interest in discussing the case with his successor.

This information was given by the minister at a press conference after the opening of a symposium on the Modernization of the Armed Forces, sponsored by the Federation of Industries of São Paulo (FIESP).

Jobim reiterated that no decision had yet been taken, and said that the recommendation that the Defense Ministry will submit to the President will give priority to the transfer of technology by the vendor, and that this transfer must be guaranteed by the government of the vendor’s country of origin. “What we want is national capacity, we do not (just) want a plane,” he argued.

The choice of supplier will open a new phase of contract negotiations to define commercial and financial aspects, which can take several months. In the case of submarines, negotiations took nearly a year after the supplier was selected.

The first units of the new fighter aircraft will arrive in Brazil in 2016, according to the Air Force Commander, Lieutenant General Juniti Saito.

Jobim said that plans to equip the armed forces, tailored to meet future needs, are still under development and will have a 20-year horizon. Project F-X2 will be part of this plan, together with Pro-sub (submarine construction), the Guarani armored vehicle, which will replace the Urutrus; the 50 transport helicopters being built in Helibras, and the KC-390 military cargo aircraft being developed by Embraer. Also included are the Integrated Border Monitoring (SISFRON) and the Blue Amazon Management System (SisGAAz), both based on satellites.

The minister explained that there are no defined budgets for the plan. “The number is the result of requirements,” he said, pointing out that there are several ways that may supplement budget revenues: premium collection from banks that pay military salaries, and revenue from a property fund controlling non-operational real estate assets of the armed forces, among others.

Jobim mentioned the KC-390 project to businessmen in the audience as a paradigm to be followed: it occupies a niche in the international market because it could replace the Hercules around the world that will retire in coming years, and it has foreign partners for its production. Agreements for production have already been concluded with Chile, Colombia, Portugal and the Czech Republic.