SAO PAULO, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Two Brazilian companies have contracted to work with Boeing on a range of engineering and logistics projects that give the American company a firmer foothold in the expanding aviation and defense manufacturing sector in Brazil.
Boeing is still a contender in the international FX-2 competition for a multibillion-dollar deal to supply Brazilian military with a fighter jet fleet of 36 or more aircraft over the coming years.
Boeing said its Defense, Space and Security business signed memorandums of understanding with Brazilian companies MSM Powertrain Ltda. and Pan Metal Industria Metalurgica Ltda.
The accords outline plans for each company to explore work opportunities with Boeing and its industry partners in a range of goods and services that include logistics services, ground support equipment, engineering support -- mostly for MSM -- and assembly, subsystem installation, machined parts, processing and heat treatment for Pan Metal.
Brazil's extensive investment in its defense manufacturing industries has opened opportunities both for local companies and for potential international partners, such as Boeing.
Last week Brazil was host to a French delegation as part of a plan to assemble and manufacture submarines for the Brazilian navy and eventually for export. France is helping Brazil with the manufacture of five submarines -- four diesel-electric and one nuclear-powered.
U.S. President Barack Obama backed Boeing's bid for the FX-2 fighter jet contract and called for more trade that could lead to a wider free trade agreement that would potentially include Brazil and its neighbors.
Brazil is still considering the approach that is likely to form a key part of ongoing talks between Brasilia and Washington.
Boeing said it chose MSM and Pan Metal for collaboration because it recognized their experience in the aerospace industry.
Susan Colegrove, regional director of international strategic partnerships for Boeing Defense, Space and Security, said the company hoped to bring "best-value solutions" to its global customer base and also promote regional economic development objectives that could lead to greater opportunities in the aerospace industry.
The MOUs resulted from Boeing's recent tour of companies in Sao Bernardo do Campo and throughout the industrial region in the state of Sao Paulo.
Representatives from Boeing and its Super Hornet industry partners visited businesses in the region to assess and match their capabilities with future work-placement opportunities.
The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is Boeing's candidate for Brazil's FX-2 jet fighter acquisition program.
MSM and Pan Metal join more than 25 other companies throughout Brazil that Boeing and its industry partners have already identified as potential suppliers, Boeing said.
"This enhances Boeing's industrial participation offer on the F-X2 fighter program, with a focus on identifying near-term opportunities," the company said.
Being has headquarters in St. Louis. Boeing's Defense, Space and Security is a $32 billion business with 63,000 employees worldwide.