Avibras Aeroespacial, the Brazilian arms manufacturer, has signed a deal with Sukhoi for the co-production of itsmilitary and civil aircraft.

The agreement is linked to Sukhoi's bid for the Brazilian air force's $700 million F-XBRfighter programme, and allows the Russian manufacturer to offer its Su-35/Su-35MK in association with a domestic source without linking with Embraer, which is part-owned by a group of French companies. Dassault, Snecma and Thales are offering the Mirage 2000BRwith Embraer. Other contenders are the Lockheed Martin F-16, RSKMiG-29 and Saab/BAESystems Gripen. Embraer's French ownership has caused concern among the other contenders because of difficulties in meeting the 100% offset requirement.

According to Avibras, if the Su-35 wins the competition, the aircraft will be assembled by the company at its S‹o José dos Campos factory. The Brazilian company will also work on systems and weapons integration.

Jo‹o Brasil Carvalho Leite, Avibras vice-director, says the agreement also foresees the co-production of Su-35 airframe components for other export customers.

Carvalho Leite says: "We are firmly set on re-establishing our aircraft manufacturing capability and our partnership with Sukhoi is a step in that direction." He does not specify which civil aircraft Avibras could work on.

The Su-35 for Brazil would be equipped with canards, thrust-vectoring and the NIIP N-011M multimode radar with a phased-array antenna (PhAA). Russian state arms sales agency Rosoboronexport and Sukhoi are also trying to team up with Brazilian weapons manufacturers.

Source: Flight International