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Brazil delays decision over JAS Gripen

AFP/The Local · 21 Aug 2009, 08:36

Published: 21 Aug 2009 08:36 GMT+02:00

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The Swedes are joined by French and US defence companies that have stepped up their campaigns following reports that the Brazilian government is likely to delay its decision until October at the earliest.

France's Dassault, which is fielding its high-tech Rafale fighter, had been seen as the frontrunner up to now because of a guarantee to share all technology with Brazil - a key requirement of the tender.

But Sweden's Saab, offering a new generation of its cost-effective Gripen jet, and US aerospace giant Boeing, plugging its F/A-18 Super Hornet, have sought to blunt that advantage.

Saab president Ake Svensson told reporters in Sao Paulo on Thursday that not only would Gripen technology be offered, but Brazil stood to benefit by participating in future exports of the Swedish jet, which is poised to go into production.

Bob Kemp, Saab's sales and marketing director, said that because the supply chains for Dassault and Boeing were already defined, "we have a program and they have products" to offer.

Boeing's executive vice-president, Jim Albaugh, likewise stressed to journalists last week in Sao Paulo that the US Congress was being asked to allow an "unprecedented" level of technology-sharing with Brazil around the F/A-18.

At stake is not only the right to supply Brazil with 36 modern fighters to replace its 12 outdated French Mirage jets from 2014 - but also a chance to carry a winner's glow into a much bigger, $10 billion tender India has underway to buy 126 fighters.

The chosen aircraft will be the spearpoint of Brazil's air force for the next three decades.

Brazil, which struck a deal last year to buy four French submarines and co-develop a nuclear sub, is seeking the military clout to match its growing economic power and regional political ambitions.

Jean-Marc Merialdo, the head of Dassault's office in Brazil, told AFP on Thursday there was still some time to go before the winner was decided and a contract signed.

"Let's uncork the champagne once it's signed," he said, expressing caution.

He said he was confident the Rafale was the best option on the table, being more sophisticated and manoeuvrable than the F/A-18 and more powerful than the Gripen.

He also noted that France's technology-sharing was certain, while US technology - which applied to part of the Gripen, whose engine is made by General Electric - was subject to political approval by US lawmakers, who have resisted such transfers in the past.

Story continues below…

Boeing, though, has pointed out that the Rafales were costly and none have yet been sold outside of France, while the F/A-18 has been taken up by the Australian air force.

Saab emphasizes that its Gripen is the cheapest option of the three, and is built to land on highways - a consideration for Brazil, which has to police the vast Amazon jungle.

Brazil's media had said an air force evaluation of the three jets was to be submitted to the government this month, with a possible decision announced on September 7 - during Brazil's Independence Day celebrations which, coincidentally or not, French President Nicolas Sarkozy had been invited to attend.

But the bidding companies said the air force report now would not be ready until next month, pushing back the whole process - and giving them more time to make their respective pitches.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

00:12 August 22, 2009 by lingonberrie
Sweden's Gripen and Germany's Toranado are the best two figher AC in existence.

Brazil knows this and they are hedging their bets for a better deal, whereas they have an excuse to stay out of any deal with the United States, whose AC are inferior to all European combat jet AC.

Let the United States supply all their AC to Israel.

That way, Israel can sink some more of the United States Navy war-ships, as they did with the LIberty.
03:41 August 22, 2009 by DavidtheNorseman
Ahh, lingonberrie, the YF-22 Raptor is a bit ahead of those...

That said I would think the Gripen's attributes would make it a most effective alternative to the aging F-18 and Rafale platforms (the JSF seems over priced for something that can't take on the YF-22...). The ease of repair modularity and ability to operate in limited back-up situations sounds good for a place where you don't have super-advanced facilities every 80km...

I thought the Indians were going with Mig-35's??
07:20 August 22, 2009 by lingonberrie
Both the YF 22 Raptor and JSF are overpriced, over=hyped junk, and not much better than that flying coffin, The Osprey, that the Marines are dying in left and right and that has cost billions but of which the Marines swear by because the Council on Foreign Relations orders them to do so.

The Swedes and the Germans can do more with their limited R&D budgets than the United States can do with their entire defense budgets.

The money culture that runs the United States holds no sway in serious defense budgets elsewhere.

The secret AC that the Germans had both on the drawing boards and in operation put the US ahead by thirty years, but now the other countries, specifically Russia, who had ahold of the same secret technology, are moving ahead--and again leaving the US at the blocks.
07:29 August 22, 2009 by Nemesis
I do hope Sweden gets this contract. It will be good for the Swedish economy.

If Sweden does nto get it, I hope that the contract goes to France, at least that way, it will help maintain European jobs.
18:51 August 22, 2009 by cgeffken

Are you a bit angry? Hopefully Brazil has determined their needs without any outside or political interference and then chooses the plane that best fits those needs. Competition is good until bias, anger, and xenophobia become part of the mix.
22:41 August 23, 2009 by Michael84
oh oh, it doesn't sound good!
23:20 August 23, 2009 by voidplay

A good thought .... but hope it doesn't mean one other bribe scam for Brazil.

Anyway Rafale is good considering it's lack of American components, but a bad prize.

It seems to be politically motivated tender considering none of the thre planes make good sense for Brazil to buy.

Grippen and F/A-18 : American parts and ensuing drama and blackmail

Rafale : Damm expensive but neat plane
17:24 August 24, 2009 by tigger007
all this comparing which AC is the best,it's the PILOT that will decide which is the better AC.does brazil have an AC carrier? i think brazil should choose which AC is better for the pocket and the defence of their airspace. as far as the best AC of all is the f-15c(lingonberrie) and with the f-15k that is on the market now,the f-15 class jets will remain one of the best jets in the world. the f-15se soon to be on the export market will cause a stir! lingonberrie did america funk you with no ky jelly? you seem pissed LOL!
02:40 August 27, 2009 by lingonberrie
Right . Pilots. That should settle the matter.

The German pilots can fly rings around any American.
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