MOSCOW, April 28 (RIA Novosti) - Before year's end, Brazil will decommission its outdated Mirage III fighter jets, according to Brazilian Vice-President and Defense Minister Jose Alencar Gomes da Silva inspiring Russian weapons producers to hope for a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars, Vremya Novostei reports.
Brazil's last two governments have opted for the most advanced warplanes since 2000. The country wanted to purchase 12 new fighter planes for $700-750 million, most of which was in turn to be invested in offset programs in Brazil. Russia's Su-35 and French company Dassault's Mirage 2000 best met conditions. The local military was leaning towards Sukhoi. However, in February, the government closed the tender without announcing the winner.
"Visibility is zero regarding purchasing prospects," acknowledged Sami Youssef Hassuani, commercial director of Brazilian company Avibras, which partnered Sukhoi at the tender. "Now is no time to say if we are ready to go back to the project, because nothing is clear at the government level."
However, things could change, Vladimir Kolnoochenko, Sukhoi's regional marketing director in Latin America, said.
"The tender was not annulled, it was postponed. In a couple of years, the situation may change," he said.
According to Kolnoochenko, Sukhoi and Rosoboronexport are drafting two new proposals - the Su-27SK from Russian Defense Ministry stocks and the Su-27SKM from Sukhoi's current production inventory.
The second aircraft, in its performance characteristics and price, is between that of the Su-27SK and the Su-35, which was offered at the previous tender.