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Sarkozy seals $12 billion arms deal in Rio

Video by Shona Bhattacharyya and Guillaume Couderc

Latest update : 2008-12-24

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, have signed an arms contract that will see Brazil purchase 50 military helicopters and five submarines from France.

AFP - Brazil on Tuesday signed contracts worth 12 billion dollars 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 dollars) -- 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.

Date created : 2008-12-23

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