On April 22, it was the Brazilian President himself who “christened” the first two series-produced F39 Gripen E during a festive ceremony. The Brazilian armed forces ordered 2014 examples of the Swedish multi-role aircraft in 36. And there are to be many more. As the Brazilian media unanimously report, the increase in the order to 40 copies is said to have already been approved.
The official confirmation from Sweden is still pending, and it could not even stay with the 40 Gripen. At least that's what the Brazilian air force chief says.
Saab Gripen E instead of F-35?
The Brazilian Air Defense Forces are facing a comprehensive renewal of their material. The acquisition of the F-35 by Lockheed Martin was discussed again and again. The Americans offer the jet internationally at a similar price as the Swedish Gripen.
However, the follow-up and operating costs differ significantly. The Saab F39 Gripen E is considered cheap and ranks at the lower end of the cost scale. The American F-35 at the top.
The head of the Brazilian Air Force is therefore making an effort to purchase more Gripen strongly. Up to 40 Gripen E could replace outdated equipment and increase the strength of the service to more than 60 units. Plans like this have been around for a long time. So far, however, they have always failed due to budget constraints.
According to defense experts, 120 flexible fighter planes would be ideal for the size of the country. However, this air fleet should not be financially viable with either the Gripen E or the F-35.
Saab AB sees the long-term prospects for further F39 Gripen E sales as fundamentally positive. Regardless of the possibilities on the South American continent, Sweden's entry into NATO is in the offing. As a member of the North Atlantic Alliance, additional customers would come into focus.
Images courtesy of Saab AB