Brazil is considering expanding its initial order of Gripen E fighters, while Embraer and Saab study offering the C-390 airlifter to Sweden.
The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) has expressed the need to increase the initial order of Saab Gripen E fighters from 36 to 40 aircraft.
Brazil’s Defense Minister Jose Mucio said that the prospect to acquire more Swedish fighters was currently being studied by the authorities.
“The Brazilian Air Force said it has need [for Gripen fighters – ed. note]. We are looking at this and studying it,” Mucio told Reuters during the LAAD Defence & Security trade show in Rio de Janeiro on April 11, 2023.
Brazil signed an agreement with Saab in 2014 for the development and production of 36 Gripen E/F aircraft for the FAB. They are intended to replace the aging fleet of Northrop F-5 fighters that currently constitutes the backbone of the FAB fighter fleet.
The enlargement of Brazil’s combat aviation could be facilitated by the recent cuts made to the order for Embraer KC-390 Millennium transport aircraft.
In October 2022, following negotiations in which the FAB attempted to reduce the program to just 15 aircraft, the manufacturer agreed to cut the order from 22 to 19 KC-390 Millennium twin-jet airlifters.
A return of favor?
Coincidentally or not, Saab and Embraer announced the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at LAAD.
The deal includes the potential inclusion of Saab avionics in the C-390 airlifter in order to market it to the Swedish Air Force and meet its “tactical air transport requirements.”
“Saab and Embraer are two world leaders in the aerospace segment, recognized for the excellence of their engineering and products,” said Bosco da Costa Junior, President & CEO of Embraer Defense and Security. I view this MoU with extreme optimism, as I am sure that the two companies together can further grow their business in various markets around the world.”
The Embraer C-390 Millennium transport aircraft achieved Full Operational Capability (FOC) with the FAB on April 3, 2023.