|2 Rafale - Cruzex V- Natal AB - Brazil|
Between September 2009 and January 2011, Brazil's F-X2 fighter competition seemed more like a power struggle than an evaluation process, with the state's political leadership favouring the Dassault Rafale and the air force preferring either of two alternatives. In this narrative, the winning bid would belong to the victorious side of an internal battle within the Brazilian bureaucracy, with most bets on the Rafale - President Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva's declared favourite.
However, the dynamics of the competition, worth at least $6 billion, completely changed on 6 December 2010, when da Silva ceded the F-X2 decision to his successor and former chief of staff Dilma Rousseff, who became president on 1 January 2011.
If any country has claimed political advantage in the competition so far, however, it has been France. On Brazilian independence day, 7 September, in 2009, visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy secured da Silva's promise that Brazil would buy 36 Rafales in exchange for France purchasing 12 KC-390s. That deal was followed by a long period of price adjustment. By August, local reports had Rafale emerging as the top-ranked aircraft in the air force evaluation, even though it was still the most expensive. The ranking was reportedly changed to make technology transfer more important than operating cost.
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