Brazil Fighter Jets: Sweden Strikes Back

Looks like Brazilian President Lula da Silva wasn’t far off when he joked that he’d end up getting the 36 fighter jets for free. Following Dassault and Boeing, Saab has now offered to make all the technology of its Gripen available, and to manufacture 40 percent of the aircraft’s components in Brazil. A Swedish deputy defense minister also announced that Sweden would sell the Gripens for just half the price of the competing aircraft. (You can check out the Rafale and Gripen promotional videos here in WPR’s newly revamped video section.)

That means all three contractors have now met the Brazilian demands of technology transfers and domestic manufacturing. Still, here’s what Lula had to say:

“The air force has the technological know-how to make the evaluation,and it will do so,” he added. “But the decision is political andstrategic, and it’s up to the president of the republic and no oneelse,” Lula said recently.

That sounds to me like Brazilian for “tie goes to the French.” Even at half the price, I’m not really sure what a strategic partnership with Sweden would look like.