Dassault enhances Brazilian offer

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French government gives green light to incorporate mission system technology from Rafale into Mirage 2000BR

Dassault has received clearance from the French government to include systems technology from the Rafale multirole fighter into the Mirage 2000BR on offer to Brazil for its F-X BR fighter requirement.

Changes to the Mirage 2000BRare understood to involve the Rafale's mission systems, including the intention to integrate the Thales/Sagem OSF electro-optical sensor to supplement the Mirage 2000BR's Thales RDY radar, as well as the Thales/MBDA Spectra defensive aids system.

Final decision on the Brazilian air force's F-X BR programme is now expected during the first quarter of this year. The air force selected the Sukhoi Su-35 in 2002, resulting in intense lobbying from Embraer, which is leading the Mirage 2000BRbid. Embraer is part-owned by a consortium comprising Dassault, Thales and Mirage engine supplier Snecma.

A related programme to lease 12 fighters to bridge the gap between retirement of Brazil's Mirage IIIEBRs and delivery of the first F-X BRs continues to be considered, with air force sources indicating that an Israel Aircraft Industries Kfir C10 proposal is favoured. Rosboronexport has tendered an Su-27 lease proposal, and Varig VEM has offered a batch of Lockheed Martin F-16A/Bs. However, the air force and defence ministry are avoiding selecting an aircraft linked with F-X BR contenders, which also include the F-16C/D and Saab/BAE Gripen. Budget limitations are expected to restrict any deal to about 12 aircraft.