Brazil is considering a new order for 30 Gripen E/F

The year 2021 will have been a year of great disappointment for the Swedish manufacturer Saab. Like the previous 5 years, this one will not have succeeded in imposing its Gripen fighter, whether it is the classic JAS-39 C/D version in Croatia, which preferred 12 second-hand Rafales acquired from France, than its Gripen NG or JAS-39 E/F with its Finnish neighbor, who preferred the F-35A despite a very attractive and ambitious offer from Stockholm. To date, and apart from the Gripen NG orders for Flygvaptnet, the Swedish Air Force, and the 36 Gripen NGs ordered by Brazil in 2014, Saab's order book remains desperately empty. As for current competitions, outside the Philippines, in which the Gripen is engaged, like in Canada or in India, the latter appears as an outsider, and sometimes even as a promoter.

In fact, the competition that will soon open in Brazil to acquire 30 modern fighters alongside the 36 aircraft already ordered from Saab, and thus reach the format of 66 aircraft targeted by the country's planning, has a dimension that is not strategic, but vital for the Swedish manufacturer, as this is probably the only competition in the years to come for which its device will play the role of favorite. Moreover, according to the statements of a Brazilian daily, it is possible that there is no international competition, since Sao Paulo would consider negotiating directly with Stockholm a new tranche of 30 aircraft, without going through a tender procedure.

The Gripen E is a device offering high performance, but which is today handicapped by a high unit price compared to the competition, for a relatively small carrying capacity.

It must be said that no manufacturer would be able to position itself as aggressively as Saab in this market. Already, in 2014, Saab had granted Brazil the local assembly of most of the 36 aircraft ordered by the local aircraft manufacturer Embraer. And it is very unlikely that another aircraft manufacturer could offer such a solution for an order of only 30 new aircraft, without seeing its unit costs explode. In addition, and as in the case of the Rafales in India, the pre-existence of a Gripen NG fleet within the Brazilian Air Force generates significant savings with regard to a new batch, particularly in terms of training and logistics. In fact, and in a perfectly objective way, Sao Paulo would indeed have every interest in turning to Saab to strengthen its air force, both from an economic and operational point of view.


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