Saab beats Boeing to $4.5bn Brazil jet fighter deal
A JAS 39C Gripen jet built by Saab. Brazil has awarded a $4.5bn contract to Saab to replace its ageing fleet of fighter jets, a surprise coup for the Swedish company after news of US spying on Brazilians helped derail Boeing’s chances for the deal
Saab surged in Stockholm as it beat Boeing to supply 36 jet fighters for Brazil’s air force. Meanwhile Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has called alleged US spying on her government an affront to the South American nation.
The deal is worth $4.5 billion through 2023, defence minister Celso Amorim said yesterday. Saab rose as much as 44.8 kroner, or 34 per cent, to 177.8 kroner in Stockholm, the most since its 1998 initial public offering.
Brazil picked Saab over Boeing because of the performance and cost of its aircraft as well as willingness to transfer technology, Mr Amorim said.
Ms Rousseff said the armed forces had a key role in strengthening cybersecurity to protect privacy and Brazil’s sovereignty.
Welber Barral, Brazil’s trade secretary from 2007 to 2011, said: “Boeing only didn’t win the deal because of the lack of trust created by the spying incident. Had the decision been last year, Boeing would have won.”
Boeing, based in Chicago, is disappointed and will work with Brazil’s air force to determine why its F/A-18 Super Hornet lost, according to an email statement from the company.
Brazil’s government would maintain close commercial ties with the US, Mr Amorim said. The other finalist was Paris-based Dassault Aviation with its Rafale model.
Gripen NG Brazil expects to sign the aircraft contract within 12 months. Saab, which offered a financing package and collaboration between the Swedish and Brazilian governments as part of its bid, will assure production of the jet past 2025 and could lure other buyers such as Denmark and Malaysia, according to Lennart Sindahl, head of Saab’s aeronautics unit.
Current Gripen versions are in service with the Swedish air force as well as the South African, Thai, Hungarian and Czech Republic armed forces.
Brazil’s decision is also a setback for Dassault’s Rafale, which has struggled to build a presence outside France. – (Bloomberg)