The Brazilian Government has selected Saab’s Gripen next generation (NG) multi-role combat aircraft for the national air force’s long-delayed multi-billion dollar FX-2 programme.
The company will now start negotiations with the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) for the contract, which covers the supply of a total of 36 Gripen NG aircraft.
Saab’s proposal included Gripen NG, sub-systems for the aircraft, an extensive technology transfer package, a financing package, and a long term bi-lateral collaboration between the Brazilian and Swedish Governments.
Saab CEO Hakan Buskhe said the announcement represents a strong commitment of the Brazilian Government and the company is looking forward to provide world-leading and most affordable fighter to FAB.
Bushke said, ”Furthermore, this announcement is very significant for the collaboration between Brazil and Sweden.
”We stand prepared to start the industrial collaboration as planned, with its positive effects for Brazilian industry.”
The contract’s value, which was earlier estimated to be $5bn, has now been decreased to $4.5bn, as Saab had offered the cheapest price, Agence France Presse reported, citing Brazilian defence minister Celso Amorim.
Brazilian Air Force commander Juniti Saito was quoted by the news agency as saying that, "we are going to develop the plant jointly with Sweden. with Saab, to have 100% of the plane’s intellectual property."
Gripen was competing against Boeing’s F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet and Dassault Aviation’s Rafale fighter aircraft for the contract, which has repeatedly been delayed due to budgetary constraints.
Powered by a single Volvo-Flygmotor RM12 engine, the JAS 39 Gripen is a lightweight, multirole fighter aircraft designed to conduct a wide range of air-to-air, air-to-surface and reconnaissance missions.
The aircraft is also in service with the Czech Republic, Swedish, South African, Thai and Hungarian air forces, and the UK Empire Test Pilot School (ETPS).
Image: A Swedish Air Force’s Gripen fighter aircraft during its flight. Photo: courtesy of Ernst Vikne.