Brazil arms show offers partnership opportunities

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 12 (UPI) — The four-day Latin America Aerospace and Defense 2011 trade show opened Tuesday with major international companies arrayed to compete for lucrative orders from host Brazil and other regional countries.

Boeing is pitching with a simulator for its F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter, already in the race to enter Brazil’s future inventory. Competition from France’s Rafale and Sweden’s Gripen NG fighter has been tough, with the Brazilian government response to the three rival bidders still a matter for conjecture.

U.S. President Barack Obama canvassed for Boeing when he visited Brazil in March and met with President Dilma Rousseff as part of a U.S. administration effort to re-engage with Latin America after several decades of preoccupation with the Middle East.

Boeing said it will showcase its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block II flight simulator plus an array of other company products, services and capabilities at the trade show from April 12 to 15 in Rio de Janeiro.

“We look forward to meeting with potential customers from Brazil and all over Latin America to discuss how we can meet their near-term and future defense and security requirements,” said Joe McAndrew, Boeing vice president of International Business Development for Europe, Israel and the Americas.

He said, “This year we also will have a strong focus on discussing partnership opportunities with Brazilian industry.”

An F/A-18E/F Super Hornet flight simulator will be the centerpiece of Boeing’s display. The simulator includes a front and rear cockpit and demonstrates the capabilities of the single-seat E model and the two-seat F model.

The simulator’s 180-degree projection screen offers virtual-reality visibility of cities, forests, roads and buildings as well as enemy aircraft. The system is capable of demonstrating simulated aerial combat and air-to-ground targeting, navigation, and mission systems operation. Operators also can practice landing on and taking off from runways or an aircraft carrier.

The Super Hornet strike fighter is in service with the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force and is currently one of the finalists in Brazil’s F-X2 fighter competition.

Boeing said the Super Hornet offers Brazil a winning combination of price and capability, with advanced technologies, high mission readiness, low life cycle costs, low program risks, production availability, industrial benefits, and technology transfer.

“In addition to helping Brazil achieve air dominance, Boeing can be a strategic partner in several areas, including education, biofuels, satellites, unmanned systems, networking, and critical infrastructure protection,” said McAndrew.

Brazil has made high-level and wide-ranging transfer of technologies a cornerstone of its defense acquisition policies. Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva favored Rafale as the strike fighter of choice for Brazilian air force but changed his mind before handing over power to Rousseff. French President Nicolas Sarkozy had campaigned vigorously for Rafale to be chosen as the Brazilian air force’s new fighter.

The deal is worth up to $10 billion.

A unit of The Boeing Co., Boeing Defense, Space and Security has headquarters in St. Louis and is one of the world’s largest defense, space and security businesses. The $32 billion business employs 66,000 people worldwide.

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