France hopeful on possible Brazilian Rafale buy


France is hopeful it will have positive news on the long-awaited sale of 36 warplanes to Brazil by December, Defence Minister Alain Juppe said

Asked on RTL radio whether there would be an announcement in November on the sale of the Rafale fighter jets, Juppe said he was hopeful there would be “good news” soon.
“In the course of November … (or) December,” Juppe said.

France has seen its defence exports come under pressure for most of the decade, struggling to repeat the success of Dassault Aviation’s (AVMD.PA) previous generation of Mirage warplanes with the multi-role Rafale, Reuters reports.

The Rafale, originally designed to protect France against threats waged over longer distances during the Cold War, has been a flagship programme for France’s arms industry, but has had problems in finding export buyers.

Brazil, actively courted as the first foreign buyer, has so far delayed a decision to buy the fighters until after presidential elections.

President Nicolas Sarkozy said in Seoul earlier this month he was still confident of securing the sale after meeting Brazil’s new president Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor Luiz Inacio da Silva.