Exclusive: Boeing eyes possible Chinook helicopter sale to Brazil

Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:13pm EDT
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By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Brazilian Army has expressed interest in buying a handful of Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote) CH-47 Chinook helicopters, the company said on Wednesday, saying that it continued to view Brazil as an important partner for defense and commercial projects.

"We have had some early discussions about the Chinook with the Brazilian Army," Boeing spokesman Scott Day said, when asked about a potential CH-47 sale to Brazil. Day declined to give any details, but said the potential order was "not a large one."

Ties between the United States and Brazil are starting to recover from deep strains caused last year after documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden showed that Washington had spied on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and other world leaders.

After the incident, Roussef canceled a state visit to the United States and Brazil scrapped plans to buy Boeing F/A-18 fighter jets, but the Brazilian leader has since indicated she is ready to move on.

The State Department has already approved several other possible U.S. weapons sales to Brazil this year, calling the country "an important force for political stability and economic progress in South America."

The potential weapons deals include a $169 million deal for 16 AGM-84L Harpoon missiles, also built by Boeing; 40 upgrade kits for M109A5 self-propelled howitzers built by the U.S. unit of BAE Systems (BAES.L: Quote); and three UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters built by Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp (UTX.N: Quote), in a deal valued at about $145 million.

Day said Boeing viewed the Chinook discussions with Brazil as "pretty positive" and said the company believed the workhorse twin-rotor helicopters would provide the Brazilian army a lot of good capacity.

"We still view Brazil as a very important country for Boeing," he said.   Continued...

A CH-47F Chinook helicopter with 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, lands on the flight line after a maintenance test flight at Camp Marmal, in Mazar-e Sharif province, Afghanistan in this February 9, 2012 file photo by the U.S. Army.  REUTERS/Felix Acevedo/U.S. Army/Handout via Reuters