Brazil's Gripen NG should arrive after Sweden
takes the first deliveries of the next-generation aircraft in
early 2018, said Lennart Sindahl in a telephone interview.
"Everyone expects the national air force to take the first
deliveries, before we start exporting," he said.
That will leave the Brazilian air force waiting to replenish an
old, shrinking fleet. Military officials said on Wednesday they
expected to sign a $4.5 billion final contract for the 36 new
jets within a year, with the first deliveries arriving four
years after that.
While Brazil waits, the country is negotiating with Sweden to
lease existing Gripen C/D, Sindahl said, in order to offset the
loss of a dozen Mirage fighters at the end of this year.
The Swedish air force is flying 98 Gripens, according to Saab's
website, and has ordered the upgrade of 60 Gripen C to the
next-generation model, with deliveries beginning in 2018.
The Swiss armed forces have also ordered 22 of the newest
Gripens, pending a national referendum next year.
(Reporting by Brad Haynes; editing
by Jonathan Oatis)
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