By William Jones, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s defense minister Celso Amorim has announced that the country has successfully bought 36 Gripen NG fighter jets manufactured by Swedish firm Saab as part of the government’s FX-2 program for the expansion of the country’s air force.

Brazil Buys Swedish Fighter Jets, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Celso Amorim and Dilma Roussef announced that the Brazilian Air Force’s fleet will be updated by 2018, photo by Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr.

The planes, which cost US$4.5 billion, are not expected to be delivered until 2018. While the final procedures of the deal are expected to continue for at least another year, experts suggest that Brazil has negotiated the price of the aircraft to well below their reported market value of US$7 billion.

The government’s decision to choose Saab appears to have been based on the transfer of the flight technology to the Brazilian Air Force. This was part of Brazil’s deal with Saab, which will allow the Swedish-designed fighter jets to be developed with the support of Embraer, the Brazilian aerospace company.

“The winner of the competition for the purchase of 36 fighter jets to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) is the Gripen NG,” said Celso Amorim. “This plane allows the country to participate in the development of the project, which is a very important aspect (of the decision),” he added.

“We are a peaceful country, but we won’t be defenseless,” president Dilma Rousseff said after the announcement. “A country the size of Brazil must always be ready to protect its citizens, patrimony and sovereignty,” she added.

Other aircraft manufacturers, such as U.S.-based Boeing and France-based Dassault, had been wooing Brazilian officials in an effort to secure the sale. The scandal over the large-scale U.S.-run spying program that targeted the communications of Brazilian citizens led Brazil to reject Boeing’s offer, according to media reports.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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