These last few years have been particularly trying for the Swedish manufacturer Saab, and its new JAS-39 E/F Gripen NG fighter. After being excluded from the competition in Switzerland, the Swedish group founded important and legitimate hopes of imposing themselves for the replacement of the Finnish F/A-18s, and was in the final in the Canadian competition. Unfortunately, these three countries turned to the American F-35A. At the same time, the emerging European air forces of the Eastern countries which formed the Gripen's initial clientele in the 90s and 2000s, turned massively to the American F-16 Block 70 Viper, while even Thailand, also a Gripen customer, announced that it now favors the F-35 over the Swedish aircraft, and that Croatia has turned to a used Rafale fleet to the detriment of the Viper and the Gripen. In the end, with the exception of the order for 36 Gripen NGs placed by Brazil in 2014, Saab's new aircraft did not register any other export success, posing a diffuse but very real threat to the future of Swedish military aircraft construction.
In fact, the announcement made by General Carlos de Almeida Baptista Jr, Chief of Staff of the Brazilian Air Force, on the occasion of the celebration at the Santa Cruz Air Force base near Rio, constitutes definitely great news for Stockholm. Indeed, on the occasion of the delivery of the 4th and 5th Brazilian Gripen NG co-produced by Ambraer, the latter declared that Brazil would soon acquire 4 new JAS-39E Gripen NG single-seaters, and that negotiations would be started with a view to acquiring 36 new aircraft of this type, while the 36 aircraft of the first order are expected by the end of 2024.
These new orders, estimated at $240 million for the 4 aircraft, and between $1,8 and $2 billion for the batch of 36 additional Gripen NGs (compared to $4,7 billion for the first order with significant technology transfers) , will allow the Brazilian Air Force to complete its fleet in accordance with the FX program which initially targeted a format of 100 combat aircraft, later reduced to 70, and to give Rio the largest combat air force on the South American continent. With a final envelope of between $7,5 and $8 billion, this program will also be the largest arms contract ever launched by Brasilia, at the same level as the construction program for the 4 Scorpene submarines for the Brazilian Navy awarded to the French Naval Group in 2009, and whose last ship is to be launched by the end of this year.
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