The French-made Rafale jet is all set to win Brazil’s $4bn next-generation fighter aircraft competition, despite the air force’s preference for the Saab-developed Gripen NG jet.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will finalise the deal with Dassault Aviation to acquire 36 Rafale multirole aircraft, if the company is ready to reduce the price.

Dassault’s Rafale jet has the highest price of the three finalists in the bidding process, which also includes Boeing’s F-18 and Saab’s Gripen NG.

A twin-jet combat aircraft, Rafale is capable of carrying ground and sea attacks, air defence and air superiority, reconnaissance, and high-accuracy strike or nuclear strike deterrence.

Rafale’s air force version can carry payloads of over 9t on 14 hardpoints.

Brazil, which is seeking a technology transfer offer and local assembly for the fighter programme, will eventually increase the number of such fighter aircraft to 100.