Reuters, Published December 19 2013
Saab wins jet deal after NSA spying sours Boeing bidBRAZIL – Brazil on Wednesday awarded a $4.5 billion contract to Saab AB to replace its aging fleet of fighter jets, a surprise coup for the Swedish company after news of U.S. spying on Brazilians helped derail Boeing’s chances for the deal.
The contract, negotiated over the course of three consecutive Brazilian presidencies, will supply Brazil’s air force with 36 new Gripen NG fighters through 2023.
In addition to Chicago-based Boeing, France’s Dassault Aviation was a contender for the contract.
Brazilian officials said the purchase, one of the most coveted defense contracts anywhere for an emerging market, was sealed after Brazil decided that Saab provided the most affordable option for the new jets as well as the best conditions for technology transfer to local partners that would be necessary for upkeep and service on the jets.
Until earlier this year, Boeing had been considered the frontrunner for the purchase. But revelations of spying by the U.S. National Security Agency in Brazil led Brazil to believe that it could not trust a U.S. company.
“The NSA problem ruined it for the Americans,” a Brazilian government source said on condition of anonymity.