WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Brazilian Army has expressed interest in buying a handful of Boeing Co BA.N 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; and three UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters built by Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp UTX.N, 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.
Chris Raymond, vice president of business development for Boeing’s defense division, declined to comment on the possible Chinook sale to Brazil after an event in Washington on Tuesday evening.
But he underscored the company’s continued commitment to the Brazilian market, highlighting a broad partnership agreement that the company signed with Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer EMBR3.SA, and its decision to open an office in Sao Paolo.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Bernard Orr