Sweden’s Saab edged out French and US rivals to win a multi-billion-dollar contract to supply Brazil’s air force with 36 new fighter jets, Defense Minister Celso Amorim said Wednesday.
Saab’s Gripen NG [Next Generation] was in competition with the Rafale made by France’s Dassault company and US aviation giant Boeing’s F/A-18 fighter for the long-deferred FX-2 air force replacement program.
Full article here.
The Brazil Air Force wanted the Swedish fighter, as it was less expensive both in purchase and to use, something that would give the pilots more flight/training time. The Brazil politicians were leaning towards the F/A-18 Super Hornet from Boeing, in an attempt to stay friendly with the US. However, after the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that NSA had been intercepting calls and messages on the cell phone of the Brazilian president, sentiments in the government shifted. Many blame the NSA surveillance for the lost order:
Apart from the article in Slate, US media has been fairly silent on this. As I write this, neither CNN, MSNBC or Fox News has reported on it yet. The current top news on all those sites is that a bearded duck hunter from the Lousiana swamps featured in a show on a cable channel don’t like homosexuals, and thus have been suspended from the show, and that an Indian diplomat had been arrested for visa fraud and strip searched. Ironically, India is another country who are considering JAS 39 for a modernisation of their air force, competing (again) with Rafale, Typhoon and F/A-18 Super Hornet for an order of 126 fighters, worth over 16 billion dollar.