Colombia may acquire Gripen fighters produced in Brazil
The South American country’s Air Force is considering ordering 15 units of a more advanced aircraft to replace its Israeli Kfir
If Colombia decides to purchase Saab Gripen fighters, aircraft production may take place in neighboring Brazil. That’s what the Swedish manufacturer’s new CEO, Micael Johansson, told a Brazilian newspaper.
Johansson said that the pool of Brazilian companies that today is responsible for part of the supply of fighter jets to the Brazilian Air Force could be used as a platform for final assembly and testing of the aircraft. Saab is offering the Colombian air force 12 single-seat Gripen E fighters and three two-seat Gripen Fs.
“The Brazil-Colombia relationship is very good and there is great interaction between the air forces of the two countries. We still have to define the model, but we have created the possibility of doing the final assembly and testing here,” said the CEO.
Colombia is due to finalize a report on the proposals in June. In addition to Saab, Lockheed Martin competes for the order with the F-16 and Airbus with the Eurofighter Typhoon. The new supersonic jet will have the task of replacing the old Kfir, supplied by the Israeli IAI and which have been in service since 1989.
After a long competition, Brazil announced the Gripen E/F as the winner of the F-X2 program in the past decade. The deal, valued at $ 5.4 billion, provides for the delivery of 36 fighters, eight of which are biplace variants. Of these, 15 aircraft will be produced in Brazil under a technology transfer agreement.
Brazilian companies Embraer, Akaer, AEL System and Atmos are involved in the program. Production in Brazil will be carried out at Embraer’s Gavião Peixoto unit, where the C-390 Millennium transport jets are assembled. The fighters are expected to be delivered to the Brazilian Air Force between 2021 and 2026.