President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil says a decision about the air force's F-X2 fighter procurement will be delayed by several more months.
Rousseff says the step has been prompted by severe budget cuts of roughly $29.9 billion for fiscal year 2011 that will see the defence ministry's procurement allocation slashed by 26.5%.
Defence minister Nelson Jobim says a decision on F-X2 will not be made before 2012, as a final selection cannot take place while Rousseff has ordered an extensive review of the programme.
Sources within the defence ministry suggest that Rousseff is inclined to minimise political considerations, unlike former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's administration, which clearly favoured the Dassault Rafale, and base a decision primarily on acquisition and operating costs.
If pursued, such a stance is expected to favour Dassault's two rivals for the F-X2 contract; Boeing's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Saab's Gripen NG. The pair emerged as the air force's favourites following the programme's technical analysis and operational evaluation phases.