Boeing proposes Embraer link in bid for Brazil contract

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Boeing is offering to partner with Brazil's Embraer on a new fighter jet, in an effort to strengthen its bid for a multi-billion-dollar Brazilian defense contract, the US manufacturer said in a report Monday.

Joseph McAndrew, Boeing's vice president for Europe, Israel and America, told business publication Valor that the firm proposed 10 partnership projects with Brazil's aviation leader, including building a new plant in the country to build parts for Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet.

The jet is locked in a heated competition with the Rafale, by French firm Dassault, and the Gripen NG by Sweden's Saab to supply the Brazilian air force with 36 state-of-the-art fighter aircraft for a value of between four billion and seven billion dollars.

Valor reported that Boeing offered Embraer assembly of the F/A-18, as well as manufacture of the nose, wings and tail.

"Never before has Boeing offered such a broad, clear package of technology transfer dedicated to Brazil," McAndrew told the journal.

"All elements of the US government that could veto such a transfer signed a pledge saying they will not veto it. Both Congress and the Defense Department," he said.

Earlier this month, after a series of postponements, outgoing Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said he would decide the closely-watched tender soon with his successor Dilma Rousseff.

Lula has described the Rafale as the favorite in the tender, with Dassault committed to substantial transfer of technology to Brazil if it wins the contract.

However, local media leaks have indicated that the Gripen NG is the fighter jet favored by Brazil's air force.

South America's economic powerhouse has sought to modernize its military infrastructure, and has pursued several billion-dollar contracts complete with technology transfer that would allow Brazil to produce and market its own products in Latin America.

© 2010 AFP

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