The Brazilian government concluded on Monday a pact with France worth an estimated $12.3 billion that includes provisions for future equipment purchases and a broad transfer of military technology to Brazil. The deal, announced in Brasilia between Presidents Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Nicolas Sarkozy, includes a $4 billion to $7 billion Brazilian order for 36 French Rafale fighter jets, 50 EC-725 helicopters and the sharing of technology for constructing five submarines in Brazil.
The competition to provide Brazil with new, high-tech equipment has been fierce. The U.S.-based Boeing Company offered up its F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft and Sweden’s Saab attempted to sell its Gripen NG fighters. These competitors had also said they were willing to share technology with Brazil. Throughout its preliminary negotiations, Brazil has repeatedly stated that technology-sharing took priority over cost. Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim indicated the deal could eventually allow Brazil to build Rafale jets that it could then sell to the rest of Latin America. President da Silva echoed Mr. Amorim’s remarks: “What’s important for us is to have access to the technology to make this plane in Brazil. That’s what we’re currently negotiating.”