Brazil to decide fighter jet tender soon: Lula

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Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Wednesday he would decide a multi-billion-dollar fighter jet tender soon with his successor elected last weekend, Dilma Rousseff.

"We are going to talk over the issue of the fighters, me, her (Rousseff) and (Defense Minister Nelson) Jobim," he said in a joint media conference with Rousseff in Brasilia.

Brazil has pushed off for months declaring a winner in an international competition to supply it with 36 modern fighter aircraft for a value of between four billion and seven billion dollars.

France's Rafale by Dassult, Sweden's Gripe NG by Saab, and the US-made F/A-18 Super Hornet by Boeing are all on the shortlist for the tender.

Lula initially said a year ago that negotiations were underway to buy the Rafale, but then stepped back from that position to see through the contest.

A final decision was put on hold since March until Brazil's presidential election was over.

Rousseff, Lula's former cabinet chief, easily won a Sunday runoff and will take over as head of state on January 1 next year.

Both Lula and Rousseff will be attending a G20 summit in South Korea November 11-12 at which French President Nicolas Sarkozy and US President Barack Obama were also expected.

Brazil has insisted on full transfer of technology in the deal so it can build its own advanced military aircraft in the future.

© 2010 AFP

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