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Brazil Buys 50 Helicopters, 5 Subs from France

December 23, 2008
DID

Chilean SSK Scorpene O'Higgins. Brasil will be the 2nd country in South America to deploy Scorpenes, by far the most advanced submarines in the region. Photo: DID

Source: Defense News

By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Published: 23 Dec 13:00 EST

RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil on Dec. 23 signed contracts worth $12 billion to buy 50 military transport helicopters and five submarines from France.

The submarine deal involves the purchase of four conventionally powered Scorpene submarines, and the construction of a nuclear-powered submarine to be built with French cooperation.

The signing ceremony took place in the presence of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Rio de Janeiro.

A French official traveling with Sarkozy said the total value of the contracts was 8.6 billion euros ($12 billion) – 6.7 billion euros for the submarines, and 1.9 billion euros for the helicopters.

The contracts involve significant transfers of technology – a priority for Brazil, which wants to develop an advanced defense industry of its own.

As a result, the EC-725 transport helicopters are to be assembled in Brazil, in a plant in the southeast Minas Gerais state owned by Helibras, in which EADS subsidiary Eurocopter holds a 45 percent stake.

The first of those aircraft should be delivered in 2010, Helibras said in June.

Brazilian engineers will also be solely responsible for building the nuclear engine of the atomic-powered submarine, although the rest of the vessel will rely on French technology.

The conventional subs will be built in France, with participation from the Spanish company Navantia.

Brazil is to build a submarine base near Rio de Janeiro to house the vessels.

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