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SecDef to Brazil: Hope you buy some Super Hornets


Secretary Panetta told an audience Wednesday at Brazil's war college in Rio that he hopes the coming decades bring a close partnership between the U.S. and Brazil, the "B" of the "BRICS" and one of the key "rising powers" you always hear people talk about these days.

"This visit to Brazil is very meaningful to me because, like so many in the United States, I have long felt a special kinship for Brazil," Panetta said.

"It is a kinship borne out of the common values we share as two nations enriched by abundant natural resources, made strong by vibrant democratic institutions, and guided by a shared dream to forge a better world for our children. Our nations have also been shaped by the common experiences of our diverse people – from our ancient indigenous cultures to the legacy of African slavery and European immigration."

As such, Brazil and the U.S. should share more science and technology; disaster response lessons; "defense support for civil authority;" and those kinds of things, Panetta said. And y'know what else? The U.S. happens to be the home of a few nice combat aircraft, and if Brazil wanted some, the Foreign Military Sales office is always looking to deal:

Perhaps the most prominent example of our willingness to partner with Brazil on advanced defense technology is the United States government’s offer to provide our Super Hornet fighter aircraft to the Brazilian Air Force. This offer, which has the strong support of the United States Congress, contains an unprecedented advanced technology sharing that is reserved for only our closest allies and partners.

But this offer is about much more than providing Brazil with the best fighter available. With the Super Hornet, Brazil’s defense and aviation industries would be able to transform their partnerships with U.S. companies, and they would have the best opportunity to plug into worldwide markets. We fully understand that Brazil is not looking just to be the purchaser of a fighter aircraft, but rather a full-fledged partner in the development of cutting-edge aviation technology. We share that goal, and I am hopeful that the Brazilian government will ultimately choose to purchase the Super Hornet for its Air Force’s next generation fighter.

We have put forward a very strong offer. It is an offer that reflects how important this partnership is to the United States.

The U.S. has tried this sales pitch before -- sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

India's defense leaders rebuffed the "closer partnership" when they rejected American fighters in their competition last year, opting for France's Dassault Rafale. Brazil also is eyeing the Rafale (again) along with Saab's Gripen, and it has been building defense ties with France as part of its submarine program. The winner may be the jet that Brazil feels will best enhance its existing aeronautics industry, as Panetta mentioned, so Boeing and its rivals may continue to elbow each other with offers to shift ever-more work down to South America.

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