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Brazil fighter jet deal 'urgent': minister

AFP/The Local · 30 Sep 2011, 12:19

Published: 30 Sep 2011 12:19 GMT+02:00

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The minister underlined that the country's defence need reinforcing despite this year's budget cuts.

The French Dassault's Rafale fighter, the US Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Swedish Saab's Gripen NG have long been in stiff competition for the estimated $4-7 billion contract, as Brazil has postponed a final decision.

Brazil earlier this year postponed the expected purchase to 2012, citing the need for budget cuts in 2011 due to the deteriorating world economy.

But Defence Minister Celso Amorim said Thursday that there was little time to waste, as Brazil's current fleet is aging rapidly.

"By the end of 2013, none of the 12 Mirage (aircraft) at the Anapolis air base will be in full flying condition. This is something that is really urgent, very important," Amorim said, according to a state-run news agency.

"The need to defend the Amazon, the borders - We need to have adequate combat aircraft," he said.

He reiterated Brazil's position that the "transfer of technology" is the key sticking point, as the emerging economic giant is keen to develop its own fighter aircraft manufacturing capability.

Brazil has repeatedly delayed making a decision on the tender for 36 new fighter jets.

Story continues below…

Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had promised to declare a winner before leaving office at the end of 2010, but instead handed the tender over to his successor, Dilma Rousseff, who has put off making a choice and shown no preference for any of the jets.

The winning jet will form the spearhead of Brazil's air force for the next three decades and replace the vintage jets now patrolling the vast Amazon forest and protecting offshore oil finds.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:29 September 30, 2011 by Tysknaden
I think, this guy will receive a special payment by a company selling aircrafts.
17:08 September 30, 2011 by jostein
Gripen is interesting to Brazil since the strategic and economic power of sweden is weak. Thus Brazil is in a position to more or less take over the Gripen project due to its sheer industrial might and size. Brazil has a large and developed aerospace industry which could benefit from such a union. And SAAB and Gripen would get added weight in future contests.
09:55 October 1, 2011 by rise
@ jostein

For what reason would Sweden let Brazil "take over" the Gripen project, just like that? When it comes to military equipment I don't think common market rules can apply that easily.
10:34 October 1, 2011 by jostein

Economics of scale. A Brazilian takeover or coopting would guarantee a bright future for the Gripen. For example, the next generation Gripen with the superhornet engine would be built for sure. Everyone knows that swedens defenceneeds are too small to be the anchor customer for Gripen. Everyone stands to gain if Brazil deems that this is what Brazil wants.
11:11 October 1, 2011 by RobinHood
Gripen has turned out to be a hugely expensive white elephant for Sweden. If it can recover some of its losses by unloading the technology on Brazil, so much the better for the Swedish taxpayer. Maybe the Brazilians can make a better job of selling them than the Swedes did; they can't realy make much worse a job of it, Sweden have hardly sold any at all.

Whose idea was it for a tiny country to enter the highly compeitive fighter jet industry anyway?
12:16 October 1, 2011 by jostein

You make a cocksure assertion and then in the next sentence let on that you know absolutely nothing about the subject at hand? Funny.
15:48 October 1, 2011 by rise
Saab has been building military aircrafts since 1939 (with Saab 17, a bomber-reconnaissance aircraft, as the first one). And I fail to see why the making of the aircrafts should be handled over to Brazil in any kind of way. It is nothing but fancy/imagination.
16:52 October 1, 2011 by jostein

Brazil bring alot of knowhow from their aerotech industry as well. And production and market potential. Its not like Brazil would swallow it up, they would be dependent on Linköping and SAAB for the forseeable future. But a partnership would definately serve both SAAB and sweden.

sweden is simply too small now after the end of the cold war to be a base for a fighter platform. There is too much politics involved in arms purchases to begin with and even more with a flagship product such as a fighter jet. Thats what it looks like to me anyway.
08:45 October 2, 2011 by rise
Yes I'm sure Brazil would have had much knowledge to share in many aspects (as would Sweden!). It is a huge country with a lot of potential and surely much knowhow in different kinds of specialized areas. But one country just doesn't "handle over" things like these to another country. And I think one of the questions is why Sweden is making the Gripen in the first place (and the Viggen, Draken, Lansen, etc before it)? It wasn't to sell the aircraft(s) to as many countries as possible. It was made for the air defense of Sweden. Unbelievably expensive things, but freedom isn't for free.
11:11 October 2, 2011 by jostein

I think coopting with Brazil in this would benefit that very reason. Right now sweden is too small to support the platform. And it would be a shame to just let it die. It is a brilliant design.

sweden would benefit from keeping the productionline open. And Brazil would benefit from the very generous technology-sharing deal that is being discussed. As long as sweden maintains production capacity, it is not a problem if Gripen in some respects move to Brazil.

If Brazil wants to be the only south american country to produce and develop jet fighters this is the best route for Brazil, in my opinion. India tried it on their own and its a cautionary tale. Im sure india will get there in the end but 20 years later and at a much steeper price than what is possible to Brazil right now.
12:03 October 2, 2011 by RobinHood

Yes, you're right.

Grippen has recovered all its massive development costs, sold hundreds of planes, and Saab's only problem is building enough of them to satisfy demand. Meanwhile, Boeing and Dassault quake in fear at the awesome sales machine that is Saab.

It's a good job we have you around to keep us straight on these things.
12:52 October 2, 2011 by bells on the knight
tell me any new fighter that has been "economical". take the F-35 for instance THAT is a PINK elephant at a US$1b a pop all in. See Norway's blunder.
14:24 October 2, 2011 by rise
@ bells on the knight

"See Norway's blunder."

Yep and now it actually feels pretty good when gotten the chance to laugh at them - remembering how they demonstratively were sawing the Gripen by the ankles. ;-)
16:22 October 2, 2011 by heu
The problem with Gripen is that it uses american parts. So they can't make the full technology transfer as Brazil is requiring. So if Brazil buys the Gripen, it will depend on both Sweden and the USA.

I don't think that is an issue with the Rafale, plus France has had a cooperation with Brazil for a long time.
16:30 October 2, 2011 by jostein

Instead of parroting ignorant journalist drivel, why dont you make an informed and thoughtful critique of the 1982 descicion, with the benefit of hindsight? Noone could know that the cold war would end back then. And no other platform was acceptable to the bas 90 system. Look at finland who had to buy a horrendously expensive aircraftcarrier design instead of the gripen?

The gripen project is as successfull as such a project can be. It is by far the most bang for your buck you can get these days. This is achived by avoiding designcreep and by using an unpresidented ratio of off the shelf components.

Sales, well, its sold to Czech republic, Hungary, Thailand, South Africa and the Empire Test Pilots' School. It is a probable choice in Switzerland and a contender in Brazil and India and a candidate for numerous others. If anything, the JAS 39 looks like the f-16 of todays world? With the F-35 project being in the state it is in it is not unlikely that some of the participants will opt out and go for Gripen instead.

Yes, the swedish state overbought to keep the project afloat. That might be right or wrong, but it can be hardly be described as a crazy descicion.
17:02 October 2, 2011 by Rick Methven
As someone who has been selling aircraft for nearly 40 years including a 9 years for SAAB, I love to see all these armchair 'experts' who just 'know' all the solutions.

Fact, as Jostein has said, the JAS39 has got the most bang for your buck, and is the aircraft that fits the RFQ parameters best, but that amounts to about 10% of the decision to purchase.

If meeting a a spec and price was the only basis for decision, then SAAB would have sold the Viggen to India 30 years ago. The whole thing is a about geo politics and political sphere of influence. The bits that very few people get to see or know about.

If you want to know what really goes on in the world of aircraft sales, buy my book when I write it in a couple of years. ( Only problem I have is finding a safe place to live afterwards)
05:45 October 3, 2011 by bells on the knight

it's a known fact what goes on, not only in aircraft sales. not sure you need to fear for stating the obvious in printed format. Many others have done so in the past.
12:59 October 3, 2011 by karex
It's very easy for Brazil: prioritize: deviate the billions they are spending on preparing for the World Cup or Olympics (can't remember which) and the construction of a mega hydroelectric plant in the middle of the Amazon which will bring socio-economic and environmental disaster for the region. If it's not enough ttaht they have problems with cutting down trees for the luber industry, and the burning of forest to clear way for pasture, now they want to flood a good part of what's left. Do they need energy? Yes. How about spending money on the infrastructure so they don't loose more than half of the energy generated by Itaipu while transporting it somewhere else? There are farmers still in litlgaiton over that project which was over 30 years ago. It changed the climatic conditions of a huge region, completely wiped out a major natural spectacle: the 7 Quedas waterfalls and now farmers have 40% lower yield due to the climatic changes it caused.
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