SAO PAULO- Brazil is "very likely" to choose France's Rafale fighter jet to refurbish its air force, government sources say, a decision that would award one of the emerging-market world's most coveted defense contracts to a jet whose future was in doubt only two weeks ago.
President Dilma Rousseff and her top advisers believe that Dassault Aviation's bid to sell at least 36 Rafales offers the best terms among the three finalists, the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The other two bidders are Boeing's F-18 and Saab's Gripen.
Rousseff has cast the deal as a watershed decision that will help mold Brazil's military and strategic alliances for the next few decades as it continues to establish itself as a leading economic power. The contract will have an initial value of about $4 billion but will likely be worth considerably more over time once maintenance and follow-on orders are included.
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