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F-X BR / FX-2 - JAS 39 Gripen

The first Gripen fighter jet of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) left Portonave-Navegantes Port Terminals at dawn on 22 September 2020. The prototype was transported in whole, in the hold of the ship, from Sweden to Brazil. The aircraft landed at the port the 20th, and after the customs clearance, it was taken by the team of Portonave, FAB and the Swedish manufacturer Saab to Navegantes Airport. The fighter jet was routed between the port and the airport at dawn passing through the streets of Navegantes, pulled by a special tractor. The fighter jet must now undergo tests in the country, according to project requirements and FAB specifications.

The Brazilian government announced 18 December 2013 the selection of Gripen NG. The announcement was to be followed by negotiations with the Brazilian Air Force aiming at a procurement of 36 Gripen NG. The offer presented to the Brazilian Government by Saab includes Gripen NG, sub-systems for Gripen NG, an extensive technology transfer package, a financing package as well as long term bi-lateral collaboration between the Brazilian and Swedish Governments. The announcement would be followed by negotiations with the Brazilian Air Force aiming at a procurement of 36 Gripen NG. Under the agreement signed in 2014, the 36 Gripen NG aircraft were expected to be delivered to the Brazilian Air Force between 2019 and 2024. The main Gripen operational base will be at Ala 2, the old Anapolis Air Base in the state of Gois, but the fighters will be able to use landing strips all over the country.

Sweden was going to lend to Brazil a total of ten Gripen C/D jets until the first Gripen NG aircraft were available in 2018. The loan will consist of six jets expected to be delivered in the first quarter in 2016, and the other four in early 2017.

The Brazilian Air Force would allocate more than $ 245 million to acquire the first weapons systems that would provide the future Gripen NG fighter. Among those mentioned systems highlights the choice of several systems Israeli origin, namely the manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. The guidance kits would be purchased to convert conventional bombs Mk -83 type 460 kilos, in a precision-guided bomb to add an inertial guidance and GPS in addition to visual and infrared. The Spice 250 precision warhead has an estimated 80 to 90 kilos weight, and combat aircraft like the F-15 and F-16 Israeli are already certified for th weapon. The acquisition of Spice 250 would be striking to be the first sale of this system known accuracy to international customers. This is the latest version of the Spice family, which stands for Smart, Precise-Impact and Cost-Effective Guidance Kits (kits guiding precise impact and low cost).

During an official visit to Sweden by President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, she said "The Gripen project is one of our most important projects," Rousseff told reporters in Stockholm. "It is an ambitious, large-scale project, but it is a project that will not harm our economy," she added. She did not refer to the allegations made against defense contractor Saab, which manufactures and markets the aircraft.

In addition to strengthening the national aviation fleet, the purchase of 36 Gripen NG Swedish Saab would be reflected in technological training for Brazilian engineers and long-term financial guarantee of return to the country. This is because the agreement provides for the departure of 347 professionals Embraer and other domestic companies to Sweden to follow the production of aircraft and determines that the royalties collected from future exports also start to benefit Brazil.

In April 2015, prosecutors opened an investigation into alleged corruption during negotiations between Sweden-based Saab and the Air Force, but the probe was closed a few months later due to a lack of evidence. The prosecutor was looking at a $900 million difference between the price in Saab's initial proposal in 2009 and the final price agreed upon in October. The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) still favored the deal, with the devaluation of the Swedish krona since the agreement was signed guaranteeing savings of almost $ 1 billion. the contract signed in October 2014, was made in that currency. At the time, the amount equivalent to US $ 5.4 billion; by late 2015 it was around US $ 4.5 billion.

On June 30 2015 Spending cutbacks starved the Brazilian Air Force's plan to lease 12 Gripen C/D fighter jets, the previous generation of the NG model being acquired under an ambitious technology-transfer program. Operating needs would continue to be serviced by the F-5 fleet, recently modernized by Embraer. The leasing proposal would have been a way of covering the retirement of Brazil's Mirage F200 jets, since the first of 36 Gripen NG jets contracted from Sweden's Saab would only be delivered from 2019.

On 05 February 2016 a Brazilian prosecutor said he would reopen the investigation into alleged wrongdoings surrounding the purchase of Saab Gripen jet fighters by the Brazilian Air Force, after new evidence of irregularities emerged.

Brazil's recent economic troubles have put a question mark over its major deal with Saab, which is estimated at 41 billion SEK ($4.6bln) and is reportedly one of Sweden's largest export transactions in recent years. The deal also brings with it extensive industrial cooperation, especially between Saab and the Brazilian aerospace company Embraer. During his visit to Saab's headquarters in Linkping, Brigadier General Mrcio Bruno Bonotto, the head of the Brazilian Air Force purchasing department, said that the high-priority project would continue as planned due to strong political support. "Even though we are amid a financial crisis, the Gripen affair is a priority. We also have the financial support to ensure Gripen deliveries on time and as planned," Mrcio Bruno Bonotto said, as quoted by the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet 13 May 2017.

?In addition to an update of the country's air force, Brazilian politicians have been striving to obtain Saab's technical know-how as part of the deal. In the long term, Brazil expects to acquire significantly more Gripens, with earlier military estimates indicating a need of up to 100 aircraft. The remainder, however, are unlikely to be produced at Saab's plant in Linkping. The final decision on the total number of fighter jets to be acquired will be made after the first 36 planes have been shipped, whereupon the need for additional capacity will be evaluated.

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Page last modified: 24-07-2021 18:38:32 ZULU