Photo: Brazil Air Force
Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer will partner with Sweden’s Saab in the development and manufacture of 36 Gripen NG fighter jets for Brazil’s air force, the two companies said in a press release Friday.
Embraer and Saab, which was awarded a $4.5 billion fighter-jet contract from Brazil late last year, signed a memorandum of understanding to partner in joint program management for the Brazilian air force’s so-called F-X2 Project.
“Under this agreement, Embraer will perform a leading role in the overall program performance as well as undertake an extensive share of work in the production and delivery of both the single- and two-seat versions of (Saab’s) state-of-the-art Gripen NG aircraft for the Brazilian air force,” the press release said.
Indeed, two of the deciding factors in Stockholm-based Saab’s successful bid were its commitment to sharing technology with Brazil and to producing most of the plane’s parts in the South American nation.
The Brazilian government announced in December 2013 that it had chosen Saab to supply 36 next-generation fighter jets to replace its aging fleet of French-made Mirage 2000s.
Saab beat out France’s Dassault Aviation and U.S. multinational Boeing in the bidding process, which was launched in 2001 but was postponed several times.
Embraer, the world’s third-largest aircraft manufacturer, “will coordinate all development and production activities in Brazil on behalf of Saab and, in addition to its own extensive work packages, will participate in systems development, integration, flight tests, final assembly and deliveries,” the press release said.
The two companies “will be jointly responsible for the complete development of the two-seat version of the Gripen NG.”
Embraer and Saab also are discussing a strategic partnership for the future promotion and marketing of both the single- and two-seat versions of the fighter jet in other countries.
Assembly of the Gripen NG fighters in the South American country will create between 2,000 and 3,000 direct jobs and nearly 22,000 indirect jobs, according to Brazilian government projections.