Brazil and Sweden sign financial agreement for Gripen NG acquisition
Brazil and Sweden have signed the financing agreement for the acquisition of Gripen NG fighters for the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), allowing Saab to start the production of aircraft.
Recently, both the countries had agreed on interest rates in a financial deal to support the aircraft acquisition programme.
Defence Minister Jaques Wagner said: "The signing of the Gripen NG agreement is of fundamental importance as it marks the end of the negotiating phase and begins the phase when the commercial contract comes into force.
"This opens the way for the acquisition and development of the fighters, and marks the strategic alliance between Brazil and Sweden."
Swedish Defence and Security Export Agency FXM agreed to fund the contract by charging an annual interest rate of 2.19% on the loan.
The current interest rate, which was lowered from 2.54% agreed last year, is a result of continuous negotiations between the countries. Brazil will repay the loan within the next 25 years.
Under the contract awarded in October 2014, Saab is expected to deliver the first aircraft in 2019, while the deliveries are scheduled to be completed in 2024.
The first 15 aircraft will be manufactured in Brazil, whereas the remaining 21 will be jointly produced by Brazilian and Swedish engineers.
The Gripen NG features the same design and technology as the combat proven JAS 39 Gripen and is scheduled to initially replace FAB's Mirage 2000C fighters, followed by the F-5EM and A-1M aircraft.
The aircraft offers more thrust, extended range and endurance, and is fitted with new sensors, including an active electronically scanned array radar, highly effective electronic warfare systems and multi-function communications.
Image: Swedish Air Force's Saab JAS-39C Gripen fighter. Photo: courtesy of Oleg V. Belyakov - AirTeamImages.