French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Wednesday he was confident of selling Rafale fighter jets to Brazil and could beat off rival bids because the aircraft's technology cannot be matched.
The Rafale is competing against US aviation giant Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet and Swedish manufacturer Saab's Gripen jet for a tender from Brazil to supply 36 multi-role combat aircraft.
"We are confident because we believe that the French offer has the best possible transfer of technology, without equivalent," Fillon said in an interview published with local media on Wednesday.
The French premier begins a three-day visit to Brazil on Thursday.
French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet was quoted earlier this month in Le Monde as saying that unless the Rafale can find a foreign buyer, the government will have to stop funding its production by Dassault Aviation.
The Rafale was used in the recent war in Libya but the fighter has repeatedly lost out in tenders in countries including Singapore, South Korea, Morocco, and earlier this month, Switzerland.
by Daniel De Luce
(c) 2011 AFP
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