Fighter Competitions Narrow in Brazil and Switzerland

 - October 15, 2008, 12:55 PM

Although India’s 126-aircraft requirement is the main prize for the world’s fighter manufacturers, major procurement decisions in Brazil and Switzerland are expected to be made long before Delhi makes its choice.

Brazil’s decision to re-open its fighter competition–now known as F-X2–was made last fall. The requirement is for 36 fighters, initially to replace the Mirage 2000 and subsequently the F-5M and A-1M (AMX). In May, a committee began detailed evaluation of six proposals, and on October 1 announced that it had down-selected the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Saab Gripen NG and Dassault Rafale for further detailed study. Rejected were the Lockheed Martin F-16BR, Eurofighter Typhoon and the Sukhoi Su-35. The latter had been a strong contender in the previous F-X competition, and had been reported as the air force’s favored choice.

Switzerland has also narrowed its field of potential F-5 replacements to three types–Typhoon, Rafale and JAS 39C/D Gripen. The Saab product has already been extensively evaluated at Emmen in Switzerland, and Rafale was there in late October. The Typhoon follows next month, and a decision is expected in the first half of next year. Switzerland is asking for two pricing options: one covering 22 new aircraft and one covering 33.