When discussing Saab’s largest export order to date, the media focuses most on the order for 36 Gripen aircraft – but that is only part of the story. The contract involves the purchase of a complete turnkey weapon system, and the total package includes training, spare parts, support, planning and maintenance.
“Brazil chose Saab because it wanted to have the very latest technological developments while driving its own industry forward,” says Mikael Franzén, programme manager for Gripen in Brazil. The order comprises 28 single-seater Gripen NG aircraft (corresponding to Sweden’s Gripen E) and a development order for eight two-seater aircraft. Next comes a development phase, then Saab will deliver aircraft from 2019 until 2024.
“The contract extends over a long period of time and, since Brazil is a vast country, this also represents a fantastic opportunity for Saab in the future – for example, in the form of spin-off effects for several parts of the company,” says Franzén.
Saab has previously done business in Brazil, but not at this level. “It opens the door to follow-on business, not only in Brazil but also in other Latin American countries. We expect it to have the same effect as our business in the Czech Republic and Hungary had on other sales opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe.”
Brazil chose Saab because it wanted to have the very latest technological developments while driving its own industry forward. Mikael Franzén, programme manager for Gripen in Brazil
The Brazil deal ensures stability at Saab for a long time to come, not least among employees at Aeronautics in Linköping. “We don’t yet know whether we will need to employ more people to meet the requirements, but it is not out of the question that development and production may need to expand,” says Franzén. Franzén also notes two main challenges that Saab must address immediately:
“To begin with, we must coordinate product development so that the orders from the Swedish and Brazilian armed forces can progress in parallel. Secondly, we must ensure that the technology transfer takes place in an effective manner. ”The knowledge and experience from previous export deals, such as those in South Africa, will be valuable in achieving those goals. “We have a very inspiring period in front of us,” says Franzén. “We extend a welcome to our soon-to-be colleagues who decide to move to Sweden from Brazil.
Already in November 2014, two pilots from the Brazilian Air Force arrived in Sweden to start their instructor course at the F7 air base in Såtenäs. Hear what they have to say about their first flight experience in Gripen.