Dassault: ‘Gripen not in the same league’

A Rafale C takes off loaded with maximum fuel (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A Rafale C takes off loaded with maximum fuel (Image © Elmer van Hest)

The Saab Gripen is not in the same league as the Dassault Rafale, the French company said on Thursday after losing out on the Brasilian FX2 program. Brazil has chosen the Saab JAS 39E/F Gripen as its new fighter aircraft.

Brazil sees the Gripen as a feasible economic solution to its defence needs. According to Dassult in a press statement, that reasoning doesn’t take into account the cost effectiveness and more advanced technology of the Rafale, which, according to Dassault is in another league. The French also point out the Gripen uses a lot of US-made technology. Recent political disputes over US spying operations in Brazil reportedly made another piece of US-technology loose out on the FX2 program as well. The Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet is now also with empty hands.

Over the last 15 years, Dassault and its partner Snecma intensively lobbied for Rafale in Brazil. For years, the French have had a hard time selling their aircraftr abroad. However, next year Dassault is expected to finalize a deal with India over 126 Rafale aircraft, a transaction worth 15 billion USD.

On Friday, Brazil announced its choice for 36 JAS 39E/F Gripens. The deal is worth 3.5 billion euro (about 5 billion USD). More on that is here.  Meanwhile, Saab shares have risen by as much as 30 percent since Wednesday, according to Reuters.

© 2013 AIRheads’ Elmer van Hest

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