The Gripen-E technology demonstrator in 2010 (Image © Marcel Burger)

Affirm! Brazil buys SAAB Gripen E/F

The Gripen NG/E technology demonstrator in 2010 (Image © Marcel Burger)
The Gripen NG/E technology demonstrator in 2010 (Image © Marcel Burger)

IMPORTANT UPDATE 21 December 2013: “Brazil will build and resell Gripen” >>>

It’s affirmative! After 10 years of debating and stalling, Brazil finally took a decision. The biggest Latin American country buys the Swedish Saab JAS 39 Gripen E/F as its next generation multirole fighter jet.

The Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira) is getting 36 of the newest Swedish fighter jets, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and the FAB’s minister of defence Celso Amorim officially confirmed 18 December 2013 at GMT 19:49. The deal is worth 3.5 billion euro (about 5 billion US$) and includes the transfer of technology. The details of the order are still subject to negotiations.

Swedish Air Force
The Brazilian deal comes just hours after the Swedish Armed Forces gave Saab the order to modify 60 current Swedish Air Force JAS 39C/D into Gripen E/F. With the Latin American deal in the pocket Sweden no longer needs Switzerland to go ahead with the planned purchase of 22 Gripen E/Fs to make the production economically sound.

Loosers
Both Boeing and French Dassault are the loosers of the fighter bid battle. The French Rafale was found too expensive to maintain, as reported only three days ago. The American F/A-18E/F Super Hornet was ashed by the Brazilian government because of the widespread US espionage operations of industries, governments and leaders of officially befriended countries. The scandal included Brazilian oil giant Petrobras and tapping into the Brazilian president’s secret private and official communications.

Life or death
The US actions have bit Boeing double, since the Brazilian order might be the difference between life or death of the (Super) Hornets production line. Boeing is set to decide to close it in the beginning of 2014, unless it will be able to manufacture new F/A-18s or turn old ones into the so-called Advanced Super Hornet.

A SAAB JAS 39C Gripen of the South African Air Force (Image © Marcel Burger)
The South African Gripens can be equiped with the Mectron A-darter, the Brazilians are thought to be wanting the same air-to-air missile (Image © Marcel Burger)

Integrate weaponry
An extra reason for Brazil to buy the Gripen is the simpler on-board software and computer systems of the Gripen, and that a lot of its technology doesn’t come from one of the major military and political powers of the world. The Gripen core systems make it easier to integrate a wide load of weaponry with the Swedish fighter. Brazil is thought to opt for the Mectron A-darter air-to-air missile the South African Air Force is using on its JAS 39C/D Gripen.

Retired
The JAS 39E/F Gripen Brazil is buying will replace its Mirage 2000s, to be officially retired on 31 December 2012 and last seen in action during exercise Cruzex 2013. The Força Aérea Brasileira Northrop F-5EM are being modernised to fly until the Gripen takes over their role as well.

Artist impression released by the Swedish Department of Foreign Affairs of the Saab JAS 39 Gripen E/F in Brazilian Air Force colours (Image © Utrikes Departementet)
Artist impression released by the Swedish Department of Foreign Affairs of the Saab JAS 39 Gripen E/F in Brazilian Air Force colours (Image © Utrikes Departementet)

© 2013 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger

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