- Posted December 18, 2013 by
Brazil casts out US F-18 fighter in favour of Swedish JAS Gripen amid NSA scandal
Brazil has opted to purchase 36 JAS-39 Gripen aircraft confirms the country's defence minister, Celso Amorim. The US F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter was considered the primary choice, but following the revelation that the NSA monitored the government of Brazil, the Brazilian government suddenly decided to shift to the Swedish aircraft.
There has been no official confirmation that this is the reason.
"We'll purchase 36 JAS Gripen fighter aircraft of Sweden and we chose the Gripen because they have the best technology and the best price", said Defense Minister Celso Amorim in the evening at a press conference at the Brazilian Ministry of Defense .
Amorim said it was a historic day as Brazil for ten years sought to upgrade its fighter aircraft .
Logistics, technology and transfer of technical skills were some of the main factors that the Gripen would win Brazil contract .
According to the Minister of Defence , Saab will develop a new version of the JAS Gripen, which combines Swedish and Brazilian technology. It may for example mean that Gripen will be equipped with Brazilian arms and avioanics.
Gripen aeronautics must be transferred and be produced in Brazil for us to develop it. The intellectual underpinning for themselves Gripen technology in the plan must be shared with Brazil says Celso Amorim .
The deal will cost Brazil $4.5 billion, writes the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo.
Next up negotiations on the modalities of the contract and the transfer of Gripen technology should proceed. Negotiations are expected to take 10-12 months . The first planes to be delivered 48 months after the contract is signed.
Snowden a reason?
The decision has been dragging on in Brazil, under both Presidents Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff .
A decision was expected already several years ago, but it was postponed for financial reasons. Two of the largest competitors are France and the United States.
The newspaper Folha de São Paulo revealed at the weekend that the country intends to waive the Rafale , made by Dassault of France, because it is considered too expensive by President Dilma Rousseff .
Thus was it was just the Gripen and US Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet in the game.
But ever since August, when it became known through the whistle- blower Edward Snowden that the U.S. had been spying on, among other things, the Government of Brazil; the Brazilian Ministry of Defense has increased the pace of its negotiations with Sweden for the purchase of 36 JAS Gripen aircraft from Saab, according to Brazilian media .
”I am extremely proud of the confidence that the Brazilian government has placed in Gripen NG. Saab regards the announcement today as a strong commitment of the Brazilian Government and we are looking forward to provide the Brazilian Air Force with the world-leading and most affordable fighter. 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”, says Saab CEO Håkan Buskhe.
Swedish Defense Minister Karin Enstrom says that she welcomes Brazil into the family of Gripen users but insists that no deal has been finalized.