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August 06, 2015 - 16:00 ( Brasília )

Brazilian Senate approves financing for Gripen jets acquisition


Versão Português

The Brazilian Senate has given the green light today (5th) to the credit operation that will allow the country to purchase the Swedish Gripen combat aircrafts. The closing of negotiations with Sweden for the aircrafts’ acquisition was announced last week by the Brazilian Minister of Defense, Jaques Wagner.

The approved amount for the loan is up to US$ 245.325.000 – over 850 reais, plus 39.882.335.471 Swedish kronor, amounting to almost 16 billion reais.
 
These resources will pay for the F-X2 program, which comprises aircraft purchase, logistic support and acquiring the weapons necessary for the fighter to operate. The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) will receive 36 units of the Gripen NG, manufactured by Swedish company Saab.
 
The first aircraft will be delivered to the Air Force in 2019, and the last one by 2024. The credit operation will be established between the Brazilian government and the Swedish Export Credit Corporation (Svensk Exportkredit or SEK).
 
When defending the approval of the loan request, the leader of the government party at the Senate, Senator Delcídio Amaral (PT-MS) reminded his colleagues that the selection and acquisition process for a new fighter jet has been going on for many years. According to the senator, FAB made the right choice by dismissing the American and French options and trusting the Swedish for technology transfer: “I have no doubt that FAB, very scrupulously, and with sights on the nation and on technology transfer, chose the best project”, he said.
 
O senador Walter Pinheiro (PT-BA) também elogiou a escolha e afirmou que a utilização da tecnologia dos caças poderá se dar em outras áreas, como a saúde, por exemplo.
 
Senator Walter Pinheiro (PT-BA) also praised the Air Force for its choice and said that the technological know-how acquired from the Gripen could be used in civilian fields.
 
The Air Force’s decision was also addressed by senators from opposition parties. José Agripino (DEM-RN) said he’s convinced that the Swedish fighter jets are the best option. On the other hand, Aécio Neves (PSDB-MG) called out on what he perceived as lack of proper debate over the issue, since the F-X2 project went straight to the Brazilian plenary without going through the Senate. However, Neves stated that opposition parties would not hinder the voting process due to how critical the matter is. “We consider this [the fighter jets acquisition] a Estate matter, not a government one. It is too relevant”, the senator said, highlighting that skipping stages on a voting process, though, should happen only as an exception.
 
Interest rates
 
During a press conference last week, Defense Minister Jaques Wagner explained that the Gripen financing deal was possible because Sweden agreed to lower the interest rate set by the contract – as requested by the Brazilian government. When the deal was first closed, back in 2014, this rate was higher than. The final interest rate both parties agreed upon is 2,19%, according to Wagner.
 
The project’s draftsman Raimundo Lira (PMDB-PB) said the current rates are the lowest possible and that the loan can be paid in 25 years. For him, the final contract as it is only happened because providing the aircrafts for the F-X2 program is strategic for Sweden, and buying theses jets is critical for Brazil’s protection. “I believe it’s very important four our country. Brazil is uncovered when it comes do air defense”, he said.
 
During the approval of the financing request at the Senate, were also present the Air Force commander, Lieutenant- Brigadier Nivaldo Luiz Rossato and other FAB officers.
 
The government plans regarding the contract are as described in the Porvisional Measure 686/2015. The document is current under examination by the Public Budgets and Focalization Joint Commission.



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