LINKOPING, Sweden, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Swedish defense company Saab has been working to establish relationships with Brazilian firms as the F-X2 competition enters the final stretch.
The Brazilian F-X2 program, delayed by fiscal concerns amid the world's economic downturn, will see more than 30 combat aircraft procured for the Brazilian air force as it retires its aging fleet of fighters.
Brazilian military authorities are expected to announce the winner of the multibillion-dollar competition Dec. 31.
Saab is offering its Gripen fighter to Brazil, while Boeing of the United States is putting forth its F/A-18E/F and Dassault of France its Rafale.
The fighters will be produced in Brazil and involve Brazilian-produced components.
Saab reported it recently had workshops around the country to establish strategic business partnerships as part of its F-X2 bid and for other business.
"Our intention is to stay close to potential customers and establish strategic partnerships using our products as Tier 1 aerostructures, radar, remote-controlled vehicles," said Bengt Janer, director of Saab in Brazil.
Janer, together with Dan Jangblad, Saab senior vice president and the director of Saab's Global Strategy unit, took part in the workshops in four state capitals.
"Brazil is seen as one of the most important markets for our company, with many interesting business opportunities," said Ake Albertsson, general manager of Saab in Brazil. "The country has everything to become a business hub of Latin America ..."
It is believed Saab has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with AEL Systems A/S for possible development, manufacturing and support of avionics for the Gripen.
A Brazilian news report said Saab is particularly looking for partnerships with Brazilian companies in maintenance, services, systems integration and ground control.
As part of its bid, Saab said as much as 40 percent of Gripen assemblies would be produced in Brazil in addition to supply chain items.
Boeing, as well as Dassault, has been pursuing the same path in its bid to win the F-X2 contract.
"We are confident that our offer represents the best-value solution for Brazil, offering the most advanced technology, a proven superior logistics-support system and a price that is considerably lower than that of the Rafale," Bob Gower, vice president of the Boeing F/A-18E/F Program, was quoted as saying.
"Opportunities for companies in Latin America's largest nation extend far beyond the F-X2 competition to all areas of Boeing's business."
In other developments relating to the Gripen, Saab has announced the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration has exercised an option for continued support and maintenance of Gripens operated by the country's military.
The award, worth $49.9 million, is for one year. Included under the order is for logistic services.
Saab said work under the option would be conducted at company facilities in Linkoping, Arboga, Jarfalla, Göteborg, Vaxjo and Ostersund.