The first Brazilian SAAB JAS 39 Gripen aircraft will arrive in 2016, the Air Force chief Juniti Saito said to the country’s Senate on 14 March 2014.
The Força Aérea Brasileira commander thereby acknowledged he accepted the proposition by the Swedish government / SAAB to borrow 10 to 12 JAS 39C/D Gripen aircraft currently in service with the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet). In 2018 the newly and mostly locally build E/F Gripens will start to arrive, according to the brigadier-general.
On 18 December 2013 the Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and the FAB’s minister of defence Celso Amorim confirmed the deal with Swedish SAAB for the delivery of 36 of the previously known Gripen Next Generation (Gripen NG) fighter, worth 3.5 billion euro (about 5 billion US$). Only parts of the new aircraft will be made at SAAB’s homebase of Linköping in Sweden. Saab’s vice-CEO Lennart Sindahl confirmed in an early stage in an interview with Brazilian Globo tv that São Bernardo do Campo will get the Saab Gripen assembly line and that Brazil would lease Gripen C/Ds until the new aircraft arrives.
The Brazilians are in great need of modern fighter jets, after they retired their Mirage 2000s in December 2013. The country’s air defence and jet air support is now in the hands of 51 Northrop F-5EM and six F-5FM Tigers. Although modernised, these fighters don’t meet today’s standards for modern fighter jets.
Swedish Air Force
The Swedish Air Force currently flies between 88 and 95 of the projected 100 Gripen C/D, but due to budget restrains the number of active aircraft are far lower. Therefore a dozen aircraft in Brazil will not be missed in the Nordics. Like Brazil and likely Switzerland, the Swedish Air Force will get the newest Gripen version. Sixty E/Fs are on order to be largely constructed out of the current C/D aircraft. Sources within the Swedish military hope to eventually get 80 JAS 39E/F Gripens, and sources within SAAB hope that will be new to build airframes.
© 2014 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger
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