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Saab loses out in Brazil fighter plane bid

TT/Charlotte West · 8 Sep 2009, 11:51

Published: 08 Sep 2009 11:51 GMT+02:00

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Sarkozy and Brazilian president Lula da Silva announced they have begun negotiations around Brazil's planned order of 36 Rafale fighter planes, manufactured by Dassault. In turn, France will purchase the new cargo plane KC390 from Brazilian manufacturer Embraer.

Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim said that the deal is a strategic partnership between the two countries, because in addition to aircraft assembly operations in Brazil, the country will be allowed to sell these planes in Latin America, news agency AFP reports.

Dassault has been in a long-term bidding war with two other aircraft manufacturers, Saab in Sweden and Boeing in the United States for the Brazilian order. The deal was valued at more than €5 billion, the equivalent of 43 billion Swedish kronor ($6.1 billion).

Amorim said that technology transfer was a determining factor in the decision to choose the Rafale over Saab's Gripen and Boeing's F/A-18. AFP also reported that throughout the tender process, Brazil emphasized that full technology-sharing took priority over cost.

The Gripen features a US-manufactured engine from GE, which meant that Sweden also needed approval from the US government to be able to ensure full disclosure of the technology. According to AFP, the US had also insisted they were willing to share technology with Brazil, but Brazil was wary due to previous US vetoes on the export of Brazilian aircraft built with some US components.

Last November, Norway chose 48 Joint strike fighters from the US over the Gripen.

Swedish Minister of Defense Sten Tolgfors declined to comment on the Brazilian announcement. In April, he attempted to promote the Gripen deal in Brazil.

Saab was also tight-lipped regarding the news. “We have not yet received any confirmation from the Brazilian authorities,” Ulrika Fager, head of press relations at Saab, told TT news agency.

Although the Brazilian order was large, the world's fighter plane manufacturers are anxiously awaiting news from the Indian government, which is expected to purchase 126 planes next spring.

Brazil is the first export deal involving Rafales, but the plane – along with Gripen and several American aircraft – is also in the running for the Indian order.

Story continues below…

Denmark and Switzerland are also expected to decide on a supplier to modernise their military aircraft fleets. Saab has given the Danish government a bid for 48 Gripens.

Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria have also expressed interested in the Gripen.

TT/Charlotte West (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:41 September 8, 2009 by French viking
sorry for my favorite country sverige, BUT we really need business in France now. Next time gripen will win
13:29 September 8, 2009 by karex
There is more to this story than meets the eye. A very indirect reference was made, but veiled. Truth of the matter is that the US frequently practices "Worst Business Practices", some of which they are not allowed to do in the US, but don't think twice about it when dealing with other countries. Brazil has been a victim once too many times. It is not pleasant to find part of your air force grounded over withheld replacement parts because you decide not to buckle under pressure to reduce export tarriffs on shoes, for example. In my world that it called blackmailing. It is unfortunate that one of the Gripen's suppliers is American, that's all.
17:28 September 8, 2009 by A.Mirri
The swedish aircraft is very competitive and praised very much the Brazilians. But the deal with France is much more ambitious than just a purchase of military equipment. It involves full technology transfer in a wide of range os strategic areas, like the submarine and helicopter-building, and commom military operational planning. The swedish were not in a position to transfer Gripen's technology, as many ot the equipments (like avionics) of the fighter are American-made. Recently the USA blocked Brazilian exports of Super-Tucano (a small training aircraft) to Venezuela because the plane employs some American-made avionics. It was a lesson to Brazil that sovereignity can't be fully reached whith this kind of dependency. The agreement with French is quite different and gives Brazil full access to all technology employed in the fighter Rafale, as well as in submarine and helicopters. That's it.
10:29 September 9, 2009 by Rick Methven
This is not the first time and will not be the last that SAAB looses a sale because of the US Trade department. SAAB was prevented from selling the Viggen to India because the engine(made by Volvoflygmotor) had american technology. The US has always played the technolgy transfer card to bolster the chances of a US manufacturer. The French came out the winners in this instance because their aircraft has enginges produced by SNECMA with French technolgy! As a former SAAB Aircraft employee, I am sorry for SAAB but vive la France
15:56 September 11, 2009 by bettan1
I thought Sweden was the poster child for World Peace and Security ??? Why are they so healiy involved of such destructive weapons and munnitions that end up in third world hands ???

Kinda like the story line of being neutral during WWII .

Go figure!
13:02 September 14, 2009 by karex

Third world hands?

Excuse me, but who died and made your country God?
08:31 September 18, 2009 by suckfist
It's funny how these countries are bidding to supply India with 126 fighter jets--how short-term is their thinking?

Supplying such a large number of jets to India may further provoke the security dilemma between India and Pakistan.

Oh well--if one country doesn't sell them, another will!
20:54 November 28, 2009 by goldy1111
My dear , suckfist , being and indian i can very well say , that the arms race between India and pakistan is never ending, and this is probably the only reason why these two countries are now nuclear powers. And this race stops at nothing but the two countries exhaustion with spending money on these. As for India, it is a dire need these days to replace its age old Mig-21 of cold war era, that have served India with more than three decades and are seriously depleting in todays scenario. as they were main fighters/ interceptors of IAF. Moreover, India's proposal of replacing nearly 300 migs, with just 126 newly acquired ones of any kind , may give you enough reson to think India's policy of deterence and non agression. So , it is a routine process, not enhancement of arms in area, or PROVOGATION OF SECRITY DILEMA

And one more thing to tell all of you , the most feircly faught arms contract, of 126 jets to India, has 6 contenders, F-16, F/A-18, Eurofighter typhoon, Dasault Rafale, Mig 35 and Saab Gripen IN.

Out of these, Rafale failed in the intial quality tests, before anyone else, the same plane that beat gripen in Brazil. Now see, this was not the plane , but the diplomacy that beat Gripen in Brazil; so everyone plz tell the Govt to take better steps in future
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