The beginning of the tender for the supply of fighters for the Brazilian Air Force was announced in 2001 year. Then the tender was called FX. To replace the outdated French-made Dassault Mirage III aircraft, it was intended to acquire 36 fighters of the new model. The total cost of the equipment was estimated at no more than 5 billions of US dollars. The competition attracted the attention of several aircraft manufacturers and a list of its participants was formed. Depending on the decision of the commission, the Brazilian Air Force could be replenished with Dassault Rafale (France), Boeing F / A-18E / F Super Hornet (USA) or Saab JAS 39 Gripen (Sweden) aircraft.
The comparison of the proposed aircraft lasted until 2007, after which the tender was restarted with a new name. The FX2 competition differed from the previous one in several nuances of a financial and production nature, as well as in the number of aircraft required. In addition, after the restart, new participants joined the competition. In addition to the French, American and Swedish companies, the Russian organization Rosoboronexport with the Su-35 aircraft, the European consortium Eurofighter with the Typhoon fighter, and the American company Lockheed Martin with an upgraded version of the F-16 Fighting Falcon began to apply for the contract.
According to the terms of the FX2 competition, the Brazilian Air Force, in total, must receive 36 aircraft of the chosen model, and in the future it is possible to start manufacturing equipment at Brazilian enterprises under license. According to some reports, Brazil wants to get help in deploying the production of new equipment and its components in their enterprises. It is supposed to master the production of engines and various electronic equipment.
In 2008, the Brazilian Air Force Competition Commission announced the list of tender finalists. A remarkable feature of the “short list” was the fact that all applicants for victory applied for another FX contest. By this time, however, the Swedish company Saab had time to offer the Brazilian military an updated version of its fighter Gripen NG. As for the rest of the bidders FX2, they dropped out of the competition for various reasons. For example, the Russian Su-35 project was at the time being refined, the Eurofighter consortium could not offer a plan for the development of its aircraft, and the American company Lockheed Martin refused to transfer all the required technologies to Brazil.
As expected, the winner would be announced at the end of 2008 or in 2009, but in 2009, the tender was broken. By this time, the military chose the Swedish fighter Gripen NG, motivating his decision at a lower price with comparable fighting qualities. However, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was then president of Brazil, held a different opinion. After several meetings with French President N. Sarkozy, he announced future purchases of Dassault Rafale fighter jets. Such plans of the president did not suit the military, and because of the disputes that began, the results of the competition were again postponed.
JAS 39 Gripen
At the beginning of 2011, Brazil’s new president, Dilma Roussef, suspended FX2’s tender and requested review of bidding by participants. In the future, the timing of those or other stages of the tender was repeatedly shifted. After nearly three years of negotiations, analysis of the documentation and testing of the equipment, the final decision was announced: the Saab JAS 39 Gripen NG fighter produced in Sweden most fully meets the requirements. According to Jane's, the first batch of 36 aircraft will cost Brazil approximately $ 4,5 billion.
The result of such a long tender caused a corresponding reaction from the losing companies. Perhaps the most interesting is the reaction of the French company Dassault. In her official press release, the Brazilian approach to choosing the winners was criticized. According to representatives of the French company, this method of choosing the technique ignores its economic efficiency and technical level. In other words, in a press release, it is veiled that Gripen NG is cheaper than a French competitor, but it is unlikely to be able to compete with it in other characteristics.
Saab Lennart Sindal, vice president of Saab, responded to criticism from the French side. In an interview for the Brazilian publication Veja, he denied all the claims of the former competitors in the competition. According to Sindal, Gripen NG is able to carry more weapons, is equipped with electronic equipment with higher performance, and will also cost the Brazilian budget a smaller amount. The only real advantage of the French fighter Dassault Rafale is the ability to carry and use nuclear weapons. Since Brazil does not have such weaponsThis feature of the French aircraft cannot be considered a factor that can influence the decision of the commission.
The results of the FX2 tender did not come as a surprise to Swedish aircraft manufacturers. The Brazilian military chose the Gripen NG back in the 2009 year, and since then no events have occurred that could affect their decision. Seeing how the Brazilian Air Force reacted to the president’s statements about the purchase of French aircraft, the Swedish company Saab obviously understood what to do next. Back in 2011, Saab and the Brazilian Air Force opened an aviation center, whose responsibilities include conducting various studies and creating new projects. In addition, several Swedish-Brazilian joint ventures have been established to date. In the future, they will be engaged in the release of various units for aircraft Gripen NG.
Basic contract negotiations will begin only next year. Nevertheless, already now in the mass media there appeared information about the possibility of including certain clauses in the agreement. For example, the Brazilian Air Force and Saab can postpone payment for a contract for the future. In this case, the first money for the ordered fighters will be transferred only a few months after the transfer of the last of them. The payment period of the entire amount is still estimated at 15 In addition, Saab may invest in the Brazilian aircraft industry about 175% of the value of a future contract. Swedish aircraft manufacturers will help their Brazilian colleagues to master new technologies, and also receive a share in new enterprises. Thus, such a contract can be the first step in a long-term, long-term cooperation that will last several decades.
The first of the ordered 36 fighters JAS 39 Gripen NG will be delivered to Brazil only in a few years. Because of this, according to available data, negotiations between the Brazilian and Swedish Air Forces may begin in the near future. Their goal should be to lease a number of Gripen fighters from the Swedish armed forces. After the deliveries of the first vehicles under the contract, the rented fighters will return home. The details of such an agreement are still unknown, since at the moment everything is limited to only a few statements by high-ranking officials of the two parties.
There is every reason to believe that the cooperation of the Brazilian Air Force and Saab will not cease after the delivery of a batch of 36 fighters. It has been repeatedly claimed that in total the Brazilian Air Force intends to get 120 aircraft, most of which must be built at local facilities. Now Brazilian and Swedish aircraft manufacturers are planning to build an enterprise in the city of Saint-Bernardo, which will take an active part in the construction and maintenance of the Gripen NG fighter jets.
All available information about the results of the FX2 tender, as well as the prerequisites for making such a decision, clearly demonstrates the intentions of the parties. As you can see, the company Saab, unlike its competitors, not only offered the least expensive fighter, but also did not forget about the profitable “bonuses”. In fact, in the foreseeable future, Swedish aircraft manufacturers will invest more money in the Brazilian industry and defense than they receive themselves for the supply of 36 fighters. Nevertheless, the share in joint ventures and contracts for the construction of new aircraft, which may be signed in the future, will make it possible to fully recoup the investment and, as they say, get a plus.
It must be admitted that such plans for the next 10-15 years can be associated with great risks. However, the company Saab, apparently, took into account all the pros and cons and concluded that such cooperation with the Brazilian aircraft industry is worth the investment of effort and money. This is what explains all the steps taken by the Swedish side since 2011. Other companies that participated in the FX / FX2 tenders were not ready to make such offers, as well as the benefits and risks associated with them. As far as the right company Saab, offering the original method of payment for the ordered technology and the creation of several joint ventures, time will tell. The last of the 36 fighters JAS 39 Gripen NG will be delivered to the customer in the 2023 year and only after that will payments begin.
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