Military salute for Saab in Brazil fighter jet deal

Saab has been boosted by news that the Brazilian Air Force favours the Swedish firm for a $7 billion contract over its French and American rivals.

Military salute for Saab in Brazil fighter jet deal

As reported by Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo on Tuesday, the Force’s first choice in a deal for 36 high-tech fighter jets is the NG Gripen, manufactured by Saab.

In its decision, the military has gone against the Brazilian government’s pick – the French Rafale.

Citing an air force technical report, the newspaper said the French jet was not even the Air Force’s second pick for the new fighters.

The runner-up was the F/A-18 Super Hornet by US group Boeing.

The Rafale, a multirole fighter made by Dassault, had been seen as leading the pack since President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced jointly in September that Brazil was negotiating to buy the delta-winged aircraft.

If that intent to purchase is confirmed, it would be the first export sale of the Rafale, possibly making it more attractive to other potential buyers Switzerland and India.

But Saab and Boeing are fighting fiercely to land the Brazilian contract, reportedly slashing prices to do so.

Lula’s government has said the deal is not yet done with Dassault. It is waiting for an air force evaluation of the three contenders to be completed.

Still, Lula has stressed that the final decision is his, and will be based on political and strategic considerations.

The priority for Brazil is to acquire technology through the purchase so it can end up with the capability to build its own 21st-century fighters.

Folha said the air force preferred the Swedish model because it was less costly and potentially had better commercial possibilities.

And profit margins on future local production of the French jet were theoretically less interesting to local aviation giant Embraer, the Folha report added.

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Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court

Swedish car maker Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson and the firm's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have appeared in court in Vänersborg in west Sweden, accused of falsifying financial documents shortly before the company went bankrupt in 2011.

Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court
Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. Photo: Karin Olander/TT
The pair are accused of falsifying the paperwork at the height of the Swedish company's financial difficulties at the start of the decade.
A third person – who has not been named in the Swedish media – is accused of assisting them by issuing false invoices adding up to a total of 30 million kronor ($3.55m).
According to court documents, the charges relate to the firm's business in Ukraine and the paperwork in question was signed just before former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson resigned.
Both Jonsson and Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have admitted signing the papers but denied knowledge of the Ukranian firm implicated in the case.
All three suspects deny all the charges against them.

Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers. Photo:  Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
Saab filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2011, after teetering on the edge of collapse for nearly two years.
Chief prosecutor Olof Sahlgren told the court in Vänersborg on Wednesday that the alleged crimes took place in March 2011, when Saab was briefly owned by the Dutch company Spyker Cars.
It was eventually bought by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs), a Chinese-owned company after hundreds of staff lost their jobs.
The car maker, which is based in west Sweden, has struggled to resolve serious financial difficulties by attracting new investors since the takeover.
In October 2014 it announced it had axed 155 workers, close to a third of its workforce.
Since 2000, Saab automobile has had no connection with the defence and aeronautics firm with the same name. It only produces one model today, the electric 9-3 Aero Sedan, mainly targeting the Chinese market.