Rafale against nuclear submarine: in Brazil, E. Macron links the two subjects

In September 2009, during an official visit to Brazil, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the order for 36 fighters Rafale for the country's air forces, provoking the astonishment, then the fury, of President Lula. Indeed, although discussions were underway on this subject, the order was still far from being secured for the new Dassault Aviation fighter.

Far from forcing the Brazilians' hand, this maneuver condemned the chances of Rafale in Brazil. Three years later, Brasília announced that it was turning to the new JAS 39 Gripen E/F from the Swedish Saab, to modernize its air forces, with a first order for 36 aircraft, with local manufacturing and significant technology transfers. .

Since then, the chances of seeing the Rafale flying under a Brazilian cockade, seemed rubbish. However, during his official visit to Brasília this week, President Macron once again referred to possible Franco-Brazilian cooperation around the flagship of French aeronautics.

And for good reason, in another file, the construction of its first nuclear attack submarine, Brazil would find itself in a technological impasse, which would require the help of France, putting Paris in a privileged position, to attempt a new negotiation, concerning the French fighter.

The Brazilian nuclear attack submarine, the Alvaro Alberto, in an impasse?

Brasília undertook, in fact, to design and build its first nuclear attack submarine, the Alvaro Alberto. To do this, Brazil turned to French know-how, ordering four Scorpène-type conventional submarines for the occasion.

submarine Tonelero Brazil
The French President participated in the inauguration of the Tonelero, the third Scorpene-type submarine built in Brazil with the help of Naval Group.

It was also to participate in the inauguration of the fourth unit of this class, the Tonelero submarine, that President Macron went to Brazil this week, also allowing him to meet President Lula.

But Emmanuel Macron's visit seems not to have been limited to protocol and diplomatic considerations. Indeed, the French president declared, on this occasion, that France would be “alongside” Brazil in the construction of its submarines, while President Lula has several times referred to these recent weeks, with the need for support from Brazil, concerning the know-how of the nuclear part, of its submarine.

Because if France, and Naval Group, are already fully engaged in the construction of the Alvaro Alberto, which began last October, they had, until now, to limit themselves to the design and assistance in construction local, of the submarine itself. The nuclear boiler room was to be designed by Brazilian engineers and industry.

Support from France opened by the American and British AUKUS initiative

This division responded, when negotiated, to tacit international rules concerning nuclear submarine technology. Indeed, none of the five countries mastering this advanced technology, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, had, until now, agreed to sell nuclear-powered submarines, and even less to transfer the necessary technologies, to another country, even if the Soviet Union, then Russia after it, had agreed to lease an SSGN to India for ten years.

The SSN AUKUS program bringing together the United States, United Kingdom and Australia shattered the tacit agreement concerning the ban on the export of nuclear-powered submarine technology which was a reference between the 5 permanent members of the Council of United Nations Security.

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  1. Good morning. The arms industry is not a world of care bears but there may be Franco-Swedish cooperation to exploit to definitively link Sweden to the FCAS program. This time, it may be up to France to demonstrate its loyalty in the construction of a concerted European BITD...

  2. Allow me my astonishment following this article, 3 days ago you wrote an article on the possibility of seducing Sweden to join the FCAS and today one of the contributors is trying to exclude them from their main market. That's not going to help...

    • These are two separate files. Don't believe that Dassault or Emmanuel Macron will sit on €7 or €8 billion for 36 Rafale, to preserve Saab and its good relations with Stockholm. As Stockholm does not hesitate to try to torpedo the sale of the four French submarines to the Netherlands, two hours after the official announcement of The Hague's choice.

  3. I hear it well. Business is business. Great political ambitions often come up against the very rational strategies of businesses. And when politicians play on opportunities in agreement with these companies, we get somewhat schizophrenic speeches. Brief.

    • As said above, we must also keep in mind the position of the Swede Kockums and his partner Damen, concerning the victory of Naval Group in the Netherlands. When there are billions and thousands of jobs at stake for several years, there is no longer a partner who can hold together, on one side or the other. That's the game…

  4. We knew that since Aukus, Navalgroup found itself with a nice availability of arsenals for SSN after the manufacture of ours (which is done in slow motion as well).
    This is an excellent opportunity to throw a stone into the pond.

    Especially since our SSN have a HUGE advantage over the competition: it operates on enriched uranium at civilian and not military level. It’s a detail that changes everything.


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