The US has rolled out an unprecedented proposal to transfer F/A-18 fighter jet technology to Brazil in a bid to win an aircraft contract estimated at $4bn.

The US is hoping that the transfer of technology will persuade Brazil to replace its fleet of 12 Mirage-2000 jets with the American F/A-18s. Brazil has announced plans to replace its aging fighters with 36 new combat aircraft.

US State Department under-secretary for arms control Ellen Tauscher said that this would be a big departure from what the US typically does

“We want to have a technology relationship with Brazil that gets deeper and deeper with the time. This is just the first step,” Carter said

The offer has been made to counter competing bids from France’s Dassault offering the Rafale fighter and Sweden’s Saab, which is offering the yet-to-be-built Gripen NG.

France has already offered full transfer of technology for Rafale, while Saab has announced its plans to shift half of total Gripen production to Brazil to win the order.

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A decision is expected to be made in the next 45-60 days, AFP reports, quoting Tauscher.