Brazil to build own aircraft carrier to replace French hand-me-down

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 March, 2014, 9:15pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 March, 2014, 9:15pm


Brazil is planning to build its first aircraft carrier to replace an ageing French-built one as part of a steady upgrade to its armed forces, Defence Minister Celso Amorim said.

In recent years Brazil has purchased subs, helicopters and aircraft, via technology transfer agreements with the proviso the hardware is made in Brazil.

"We are starting to think about a new aircraft carrier," Amorim said on Tuesday in Brasilia, adding the new vessel was likely at least 15 years away.

"Our idea is for it to be built in Brazil, probably based on an existing blueprint, in the context of a technology transfer" in co-operation with a foreign firm, Amorim added.

Brazil recommissioned its only current aircraft carrier, the Clemenceau class State of Sao Paulo, in 2000, though the French first launched the vessel in 1960.

In December, Brasilia agreed to purchase 36 Gripen NG jet fighters from Swedish firm Saab, with Amorim stressing the Swedish-Brazilian nature of that project through a "real technology transfer".

Amorim said he would visit Sweden next month to "discuss the details" of that contract, valued at a reported US$4.5 billion.

The Swedes saw off competition from US giant Boeing and Dassault of France in order to land the deal, and defence sources say Brazil might ultimately order as many as 160 Gripen NG by 2030.