Brazil will keep a long-delayed acquisition of 36 fighters on hold until the national economy recovers from an ongoing slump, according to translated remarks by President Dilma Rousseff.

The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet (below), Dassault Rafale and Saab Gripen NG were shortlisted by the Brazilian air force in 2008 for the F-X2 deal.

 Super Hornet - US Navy

US Navy

Brazil's government had expected to sign a contract during 2012, but the award has now been postponed indefinitely while it diverts funds to bolster the economy with tax cuts and infrastructure spending, Rousseff says.

The final selection "may take some time", says Rousseff, according to a translation of her responses during a press conference in Paris.

In the "coming months", she adds, the government hopes the economy will grow at a rate that will allow the F-X2 award to move forward.

The F-X2 deal was expected to be signed three years ago as the Brazilian economy was booming. But a series of missteps during the evaluation process first delayed a contract award, and then the tender was put on hold for a year after Rousseff's election in November 2010.

The latest delay means it is unlikely that the Brazilian air force will have the new fighters in operation before the country hosts the 2014 World Cup. Its current inventory includes 10 Dassault Mirage 2000Cs and 43 Northrop F-5E/EMs, according to Flightglobal's MiliCAS database.

Source: Flight International