Saturday, February 19, 2011

U.S. read to transfer significant technology if Brazil buys F/A-18

Brazil would receive a "significant technology transfer" if it buys U.S.-made fighter jets, a U.S. Defense Department official said Feb. 17, seeking to ease concerns before Brazil selects a winning bidder.

The transfer of military technology is a key factor for Brazil as it considers Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Rafale by France's Dassault, and the Gripen NG made by Saab of Sweden for a contract worth between $4 billion and $7 billion.

"I would argue that the technology transfer that we are offering of this magnitude would put Brazil at par with our close partners," Frank Mora, deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs, told a legislative committee.

When asked if it were accurate that Brazil should not have doubts about the commitment to the technology transfer, he replied: "That is correct."

"The United States has made a robust proposal of the Super Hornet technology - a significant technology transfer," he said.

The contract is for 36 fighters with the possibility of many more aircraft in the future.

The competition for the contract has dragged on for years, with President Dilma Rousseff inheriting it from her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who had declared a preference for French planes.

Arturo Valenzuela, assistant U.S. secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, said during the Feb. 17 hearing that "we always raise this issue" in talks between Brazil and the United States.

President Obama is scheduled to visit Brazil in late March as part of a tour that includes stops in Chile and El Salvador.

Brazil and the United States signed a military cooperation agreement in April 2010.

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