PARIS, July 15 (Xinhua) -- French Defense Minister Herve Morin said on Thursday that he was expecting Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to announce orders on Rafale, the newest French jet fighter, in July.
"I'm waiting tranquilly and calmly for the announcement or declaration of President Lula, which is expected in July," Morin said through local television LCI, referring to the potential purchase.
Morin branded Brazil as a "major strategic partner" of France, stating that "Brazil has decided to reform its army with French industry in particular."
The Rafale, manufactured by French company Dassault Aviation, is a twin-engined delta-wing multi-role jet fighter. Since it was introduced in 2000, none Rafale has been exported to foreign troops, and it only serves in the French navy.
Due to its high price, the French aircraft is facing competition against the F/A-18 Super Hornet from U.S. Boeing and Gripen NG from Sweden's Saab, in the Brazil contract of 36 aircraft amounting to billions of dollars.