Brazil Buys UAVs and Upgrades AMX, but Defers Fighter Choice

 - January 21, 2011, 6:31 AM
The Brazilian Air Force purchased an unspecified number of Hermes 450 UAVs from the Brazilian subsidiary of Elbit Systems.
The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) made two defense procurement decisions, but deferred the long-pending choice of a new combat aircraft. It bought an unspecified number of Hermes 450 UAV systems from the Brazilian subsidiary of Elbit Systems. The Israeli company noted that it has now sold UAVs to more than 20 countries and that the Hermes 450 has logged more than 200,000 operational flight hours. The FAB also signed a contract with Embraer to overhaul and further update 43 AMX jet fighters. Embraer previously received a contract to upgrade the avionics of the 20-year-old jets, which were produced by the Brazilian company in a joint venture with Alenia of Italy. The first flight of a modernized AMX for the FAB is scheduled for early next year.

According to Reuters, new Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has decided that the final bids for the new fighter should be re-evaluated. The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale and Saab Gripen NG are in contention. Outgoing president Lula da Silva favored the French contender. But the news agency reported that Rousseff has sought to reinforce guarantees from the U.S. on technology transfer, should the Super Hornet be chosen.