Brazilian Defence Minister Nelson Azevedo Jobim has a announced that Brazilian Air Force will finally decide about the purchase of new fighter aircrafts by early next year. Brazilian contract is worth $5 billion.
He said that at this moment our domestic issues are of more importance and therefore Brazilian Air Force will wait till next year to take the final decision about the winner of the contract for fighter aircrafts.
F-X Project was started in early 2000s to purchase 36 new advance fighter aircraft to replace its aging Mirage III fighter jets. In 2007, this F-X Project was renamed as Project F-X2 and competitors included Eurofighter Typhoon, Sukhoi Su-35, Saab Gripen, Dassault Rafale, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
Brazilian Air Force issued a shortlist of 3 aircrafts which consisted of SAAB Gripen NG, Dassault Rafale and Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
French Rafale fighter aircraft is considered by many as the front runner but France's Dassault Aviation Rafale has yet to seal a deal for export order and had many close calls in the past too. France has already provided twelve Dassault Mirage 2000s (10 "C" and 2"B") fighter aircrafts to act as interim solution until new fighter aircrafts can arrive.
Brazilian media reported early last year that in its final evaluation report, Brazilian Air Force placed the SAAB Gripen NG ahead of the other competetors due to its lower per unit cost, operating and maintenance costs.