Brazilian Government Had Expressed 'Surprise' At Contract
A U.S. State Department official has assured the government of
Brazil that the U.S. Air Force is still interested in purchasing
A-29 Super Tucano aircraft for its LAS program after the contract
was abruptly cancelled Monday.
Deputy Secretary of State William Burns told Brazil that the
decision is not a reflection on the A-29, which he said is "a very
fine aircraft." He said that the problem was with "internal
processes," but that the U.S. government remains interested.
The French news service AFP reports that the Brazilian
government had sent a strongly-worded statement in which it
expressed "surprise" at the manner and timing of the cancellation
of the contract.
Burns said that the cancellation was not linked to an ongoing
bidding war between Boeing, Dassault, and Saab for 36 fighter jets
for the Brazilian Air Force worth up to $7 billion. He said they
were "separate issues," but added that he was certain the F/A-18 is
the best aircraft for that mission.
Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz said earlier
this week that a new bidding process for the LAS contract would be
expedited. The aircraft will be placed in service in Afghanistan as
part of a NATO troop drawdown.