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Brazil inks $12 billion military contract with France

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French president Nicolas Sarkozy with his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

PARIS (BNS): Brazil and France have entered into a $12 billion contract for supply of military helicopters, and five conventional submarines.

The agreement signed on Tuesday during the ongoing state visit of French president Nicolas Sarkozy would also help Brazil build its first nuclear powered submarine, and further strengthen its industrial-military complex.

The agreements were signed in the presence of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Sarkozy in Rio de Janeiro. A French official said the total value of the deal would be USD 12 billion (8.6 billion euros), of which 6.7 billion euros is the cost of submarines, and 1.9 billion euros for the helicopters.

"We need to be clear that giving importance to the armed forces is all about Brazil gaining technological know-how and that's exactly what France is offering us," the Brazilian president said.

The deal includes 50 EC725 Super Cougar military transport helicopters built by Helibras, a Eurocopter subsidiary in Brazil, and four conventional Scorpene submarines, which Indian navy is also inducting into service, and technical assistance for Brazil to build its own nuclear-powered submarine. Brazil would be deploying its submarine fleet primarily for patrolling its territorial waters where huge oil deposits have been discovered in recent times. Brazil is also one of the world's leading builders of deep-water oil extraction facilities.

Officials from both sides said that a significant transfer of technology is part of the deal, given Brazil's insistence on developing its own military-industrial complex. Sarkozy said the decision to allow critical ToT was to "help Brazil have a status as a military power in the service of peace."

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