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Brazil's F-X2 fighter program


Army.ca Fixture
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A further extension of this other development?

Brazil Embarking Upon F-X2 Fighter Program
03-Feb-2009 13:32 EST

In January 2008, a number of DID readers informed us that Brazil’s President Lula had authorized Brazilian Air Force Commander Juniti Saito to restart the long-delayed F-X fighter replacement program. “F-X2” aims to acquire 36 next generation fighters for the Brazilian Air Force, which is currently depending on Super Tucano/ALX surveillance and light attack turboprops, AMX subsonic light fighters, modernized F-5BRs whose design dates back to the 1960s, and a squadron of 12 Mirage 2000s built in the early 1980s. A previous 2001 F-X competition was put on hold in 2003, and then canceled in February 2004 due to budget difficulties and political issues. The initial budget for the current iteration is said to be $2.2 billion, but the RFP leaves the door open for a fourfold increase over time.

Could the words “Brazilian fighter” begin evoking images unrelated to the Gracies? A proposed 50% boost to Brazil’s defense budget could be on its way to accomplishing that, and more. While the Navy and Army are also in line for funds to replace broken-down equipment, the fighters will be a critical centerpiece of the Forca Aerea Brasileira’s efforts. The aircraft under consideration are mostly the same set of 4+ generation fighters that were considered last time – but the competition may have become more important to at least one of the competitors.

Now Boeing and Lockheed Martin appear to have finalized their offers, which gives the competition more choices than it had before. DID reports on those decisions, and adds its assessment of their offers’ relative strengths and weaknesses. The competition is now moving into its final phase, with submissions from the 3 finalists…

Feb 2/09: Bids are in.

Boeing confirms that it has submitted a bid involving 36 F/A-18 Super Hornet Block IIs, with the APG-79 AESA radar.

Gripen International confirms a bid involving 36 JAS-39NG aircraft, with longer range, AESA radars, and other enhancements. Their release adds that Brazil will have “direct involvement in the development, production and maintenance of the platform but it will also generate transfer of key technology including access to Gripen source codes.”

It is presumed that Dassault also submitted a 36-plane bid for its Rafale fighter.

Boeing, US Navy Deliver Proposal to Equip Brazil's Air Force with Super Hornets
(Source: Boeing Co.; issued February 3, 2009)

The US Navy has offered Brazil 36 Boeing F-18E/F Super Hornet fighters as a government-to-government deal through the Foreign Military Sale program. (US Navy photo)ST. LOUIS --- Boeing and the U.S. Navy on Feb. 2 delivered a proposal to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) offering the advanced, multirole F/A-18E/F Super Hornet as part of Brazil's F-X2 fighter aircraft competition.

The Super Hornet was one of three aircraft selected by the FAB in October 2008 to be evaluated in the Request for Proposal phase of the F-X2 competition. Brazil's stated requirement is for 36 aircraft; final contract award is expected in late 2009.

"We are pleased to offer the Brazilian Air Force the advanced combat capability the Block II Super Hornet delivers," said Bob Gower, vice president of F/A-18 and EA-18 Programs for Global Strike Systems, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. "We believe this proposal will meet the Brazilian Air Force's operational requirements and reflects the U.S. government's decision to release Super Hornet technology.

"Boeing is looking forward to the opportunity to establish long-term partnerships with the Brazilian Air Force, Brazilian industry and the government of Brazil," Gower added.

The Super Hornet, with core strengths in both performance and technology, is the most advanced multipurpose strike fighter in production today, with a proven performance record through more than 500,000 hours of flight time. It is operated by the U.S. Navy and is currently being built for the Royal Australian Air Force. The Super Hornet program has continued to add capability to the aircraft while decreasing cost over its lifetime. In addition, the Super Hornet is the first operationally deployed strike fighter incorporating next-generation capabilities, including the Raytheon-built APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar, which the U.S. government released to Brazil as part of the Super Hornet offering.

Boeing has delivered more than 380 Super Hornets to the U.S. Navy, all on or ahead of the original production delivery schedule. Australia is procuring Super Hornets to bolster its fleet of F/A-18 Hornets. Boeing is in discussions with several other international customers about their interest in procuring the Super Hornet.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: A Boeing spokesman confirmed that the F-18 Super Hornet is being offered to Brazil as a government-to-government sale under the Foreign Military Sales program. However, the proposed sale has not yet been notified to Congress by the Defense Security and Cooperation Agency.)