A Team from Marconi Electronic Systems/Lockheed Martin is planning to offer Brazil improved industrial co-operation and technology transfer concessions.

The move comes as efforts are stepped up to overturn protracted negotiations with Elbit and Embraer to upgrade the air force's Northrop F-5E/F fighters.

The two companies, in consultation with the UK Defence Evaluation Research Agency, have put together a comprehensive package of work, equivalent to a 100% offset, to be presented to Brazil.

Proposed concessions would include Brazilian participation in research and development, as well as production of avionics software and hardware.

Brazil would also be offered a share of other international F-5 upgrade programmes. Officials claim that, based on current requests for information, there is market potential for up to 200 F-5 upgrades, with attention focused on Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.

The F-5 offering is being promoted as part of a wider strategy to invest in and partner the local aerospace industry. Beyond the $280 million upgrade, the Brazilian air force's future F-X fighter requirement is potentially the most valuable prize.

The Marconi-led initiative comes at a critical time for the Brazilian air force which, after more than 10 months of negotiations with prime contractor Embraer and systems integrator Elbit, has not concluded a contract. The deal was initially delayed by Brazil's currency crisis, but this is believed to have been overcome.

Questions are being asked within the air force about the performance of the Elta 2032 radar and its capability to support a beyond-visual-range missile (BVR). Marconi is proposing the Lockheed Martin APG-67 radar, which the UK company claims would comply with Brazil's future BVR missile needs.

Source: Flight International