Sweden's Saab has won a $4.5-billion (3.3-billion-euro) contract to equip the Brazilian air force with 36 new fighter jets. Saab was awarded the long-awaited deal over US giant Boeing and France's Dassault.
After ten years of discussions, Brazil's Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff had chosen Swedish aerospace maker Saab as the winner of the 4.5-billion-dollar deal.
It will see Saab provide the Brazilian air force with 36 state-of-the-art Gripen fighter jets.
"After analyzing all the facts, President Dilma Rousseff directed me to inform that the winner of the contract for the acquisition of the 36 fighter jets for the Brazilian Air Force is the Swedish Gripen NG," Defense Minister Celso Amorim told a press conference.
Contrary to expectations Saab beat its two rivals - the Rafale, made by France's Dassault company, and US aviation giant Boeing's F-18 Super Hornet - for the contract.
It was reported that former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva preferred the Rafale, while Rousseff had previously been in favor of the Boeing fighter. Analysts suggest that she turned her back on Boeing in the wake of revelations that the US National Security Agency (NSA) spy program had directly targeted the president's own communications.
The long-awaited deal followed a series of delays caused by budgetary concerns.
ccp/av (AFP, AP)