Sweden to lend Brazil fighter jets for 2016 Olympics

Rio De Janeiro, Dec 21: Sweden will loan Brazil several Gripen NG fighter jets, the kind the South American country recently purchased from Swedish firm Saab, in time for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, a media report said.

The jets will be loaned to Brazil by the Swedish Air Force, since the 36 purchased won’t be ready for delivery until 2023, reported Xinhua Friday citing Brazilian news website G1. Rio 2016 Summer Olympics are to be held in Rio de Janeiro between Aug 5-21

Brazil made the purchase to upgrade its air force fleet of Mirage jets, which are about to be retired.

Brazilian Air Force Brigadier Jose Augusto Crepaldi Affonso, who headed the decision to buy the Swedish jets, over US or French-made ones, told G1 that six to 12 jets will be lent to Brazil in time to bolster security during the summer games.

Asked if the jets will be in Brazil in time for the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals, to be hosted by 12 Brazilian cities in June and July, Crepaldi said it was unlikely, as the negotiations on the loan have yet to take place.

“I think the chances are too small, around 20 percent,” said Crepaldi. “But for the Olympic Games, they will certainly be here.”

Brazil announced its decision to buy fighter jets from Saab, in a deal worth $4.5 billion, Wednesday, saying it took into account cost and technology transfer.

Separately, Saab said Friday that it could eventually export to other countries jets that it manufactures in Brazil.

Company Vice President Lennart Sindahl, in an interview with Brazilian daily O Globo, said Saab will set up a factory in Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo state, to produce the Gripen jets.

According to Sindahl, after manufacturing the 36 jets bought by Brazil, the plant could go on to build planes for export to Latin America, Africa and Asia.

IANS