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Russia confident to win a multi-billion-dollar Brazilian fighter jet

Par AFP, le 2 Octobre 2009

Russia's state arms export firm voiced optimism on Friday about winning a multi-billion-dollar Brazilian fighter jet tender despite rival bids from French, US and Swedish aerospace companies. The strength of the Russian offer is that it would allow Su-35 fighter jets to be built in Brazil, fulfilling a key Brazilian demand, said Anatoly Isaikin, head of Rosoboronexport, which holds a monopoly on Russian arms exports.
"Our offer has a broad programme of technology transfer -- a full cycle of work on technical service, repairs, all the way to organising the manufacture of Su-35s in Brazil," Isaikin told the Interfax news agency.
The offer submitted by Rosoboronexport to Brazil's defence ministry earlier this year "has maximum compliance with the Brazilian demands," he said.
A spokesman for Rosoboronexport, Vyacheslav Davydenko, confirmed that the Russian offer would allow Su-35 fighters, developed by Russian aircraft maker Sukhoi, to be built in Brazil.
"We think our plane has many advantages and we have good chances of winning the competition," Davydenko told AFP.
Brazil is seeking to acquire 36 combat aircraft to replace its ageing fleet of 12 French-made Mirage-2000 jets.
The contract is worth an estimated four billion to seven billion dollars, making it one of the biggest defence tenders in the world.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who wants his country to become one of the 21st century's major powers, has insisted that the winner agree to transfer technological knowhow so Brazil can acquire the specialized knowledge to build its own independent defence industry.
France's Dassault, which has put forward its Rafale fighters, has been seen as the frontrunner due to its offer of technology transfer and longstanding military links between France and Brazil.
But it faces competition from US aviation giant Boeing, which has offered Brazil its F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter, and Sweden's Saab, which has been talking up its Gripen NG aircraft.
Meanwhile Russia has been eager to find new export markets for its weapons and military equipment, one of the few areas where Russian manufacturing has enjoyed strong sales abroad in recent years.
Russia has signed billions of dollars' worth of arms contracts with Brazil's neighbour Venezuela, including for the delivery of Sukhoi fighter jets to Caracas.

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