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Sweden vies with US, France to sell warplanes to Brazil

September 18th, 2009
Saab's Gripen NG

Saab's Gripen NG

Sweden is ready to sell fighter jets to Brazil for half the price of French- or US-made aircraft and will give the South American country the capability to upgrade the planes as needed, Stockholm’s deputy defence minister has said here.

Sweden’s Saab is competing with Dassault and Boeing to sell 36 planes to the Brazilian air force.

Saab’s entry is the Gripen NG, while Dassault offers the Rafale and Boeing touts the F-18 Super Hornet.

Stockholm will provide ‘quite favourable financing’ if Brazil opts for the Gripen, Hakan Jevrell told a press conference in Brasilia, adding Sweden prefers ‘strategic partners’ as opposed to mere customers.

He said the Swedish government is totally committed to technology transfer, one of the conditions laid down by Brazil.

‘Sweden can offer a programme of joint development of an airplane, with (Brazilian aircraft manufacturer) Embraer, that has as its principal characteristic the capacity to adapt to the specific necessities of each user,’ the official said.

Jevrell said Saab’s proposal is ‘very attractive’ on the basis of both price and the possibility it provides to continuously upgrade the Gripen over the plane’s projected 40-year useful life.

Boeing, Dassault and Saab have until Monday to present their final proposals.

Even so, Brazilian officials have signalled a clear preference for the Rafale, notably during President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s talks two weeks ago with French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy.

Lula announced then the start of negotiations on the purchase of the Dassault planes, though he said later that his statement did not imply the contract had been awarded to France.

Brasilia has already signed a deal with Paris for the construction of five French-designed submarines in Brazil, including one nuclear-powered vessel.

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