Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Brazil Signs Contract to Purchase 36 Gripen E/F Fighter Aircraft

Brazil has signed the contract for the purchase of 36 Gripen E/F, the latest version of the JAS 39 Gripen from Sweden's SAAB. While Brazil had earlier reported that it had chosen the Gripen over other contenders such as the French Rafale and the American F-18, the signing of the contract worth around $5.4 billion makes it official.

This makes Brazil the first export customer of the Swedish Gripen E/F, also known as the Gripen NG. Brazil thus joins Sweden, South Africa, Thailand, Hungary and the Czech Republic as countries that have either purchased on leased Gripen aircraft.

Brazil also becomes the first country to purchase the dual-seat Gripen F by including eight Gripen F on top of 28 single-seat Gripen E in the order for 36 aircraft. Sweden, the first to buy the latest Gripen, had only included the single-seat Gripen E in its purchase of 60 aircraft.

For Sweden, the Brazilian contract for 36 aircraft more than makes up for the decision by the public in Switzerland not to proceed with the purchase of 22 Gripen E/F and is a significant boost overall for the Gripen program as Sweden will no longer have to shoulder the burden of developing the Gripen E/F on its own and improves its prospects for additional sales to other countries.

Brazil is scheduled to receive all Gripens between 2019 and 2024 where they will replace existing Mirage 2000 and F-5 aircraft. The Gripen E/F features several upgrades over earlier versions of the Gripen, such as replacement of the F404 engine with the more powerful F414 and the addition of an AESA radar.


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