Saab eyes Colombia, Peru as potential Gripen clients amid Latam push

Sweden's Saab AB is looking to boost sales of its Gripen fighter in Latin America, eyeing potential purchases by Colombia and Peru as it prepares to start producing the aircraft in Brazil in partnership with Embraer SA. Chief executive officer Micael Johansson told Reuters the company hopes the Colombian government will soon reopen procurement for fighter jets, while Peru is seen as the next potential market.


His remarks come after the Swedish company and Embraer on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding for the Brazilian planemaker to support the Gripen program in the region. Embraer will host the jet's final assembly line at its Gaviao Peixoto plant. "Colombia and Peru are the first countries that come to mind," Johansson said in an interview at the LAAD defense and security show in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, when asked about the company's expansion plans in the region. "Brazil is super important to us, Colombia is hopefully next in line and then we'll see what Peru will do," he added. "There have also been requests from a couple of other countries, but it is further down the line."

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Brazil was the first Latin American country to select the Gripen nearly a decade ago, and deliveries started last year. The Brazilian Air Force had a deal for an initial 36 aircraft, but Defense Minister Jose Mucio told Reuters on Tuesday the country was considering adding to the order. A source with knowledge of the situation noted the initial order could be expanded to 40 aircraft, and said demand was such that Brazil could place a second order for around 30 more jets. "We've heard those numbers before," Johansson said. "Brazil has always said they would need more aircraft beyond those 36. It is a possibility. Formal discussions have not started yet, but we are of course prepared to start whenever they want".

Endless Possibilities

Source: Reuters

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