Brazil will hold off plans to purchase new fighter jets until at least 2012 as the government cuts spending to fight the global economic crisis, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said in New York.
The purchase of jet fighters was discussed in New York in a meeting between Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff and France's Nicholas Sarkozy, who would like to see Brazil select the Rafale jets produced by France's Dassault Aviation AVMC.PA.
Other contenders are Boeing with the F/A-18 Super Hornet and Sweden's Saab with the Gripen NG.
President Rousseff told Sarkozy that plans to rebuild Brazil's fleet of jet fighters will depend on the economy.
Depending on the evolution of the global economic situation, if the crisis turns out to be less severe than some imagine, then those plans can resume next year Patriota quoted Rousseff as saying.
Rousseff said that the suspension of the bidding process this year was because of extraordinary budget cuts implemented in anticipation of the world crisis.
The contract for 36 jet fighters could cost anywhere between 3.5 and 7 billion dollars.
Former president Lula da Silva before leaving office expressed his preference for the French Rafale but the contract was never signed and the decision was left for his successor President Rousseff who postponed the operation.