Saab's Gripen NG was in competition with the Rafale made by France's Dassault company and US aviation giant Boeing's F/A-18 fighter for the long-deferred FX-2 air force replacement program
"After analyzing all the facts, President Dilma Rousseff directed me to inform that the winner of the contract for the acquisition of the 36 fighter jets for the Brazilian Air Force is the Swedish Gripen NG," Amorim told a press conference.
He put the actual value of the contract, earlier estimated at $5 billion, at $4.5 billion as Saab offered the cheapest price.
"We are a peaceful country, but we will not remain defenseless," Rousseff said on the presidential palace's blog.
"We are going to develop the plant jointly with Sweden. with Saab, to have 100 percent of the plane's intellectual property," he added.
"Within the Air Force, the Gripen was always seen as the favorite because, even though it has many US-made components, it is a project that will be developed jointly with Brazil," the daily O Estado de Sao Paulo said.
Swedish-Made Fighters Shoot Down Bids from Boeing and Dassault
SÃO PAULO—Brazil on Wednesday awarded Sweden's Saab SAABF -2.64% AB a $4.5 billion contract to supply 36 fighter jets in a surprise decision that indicates a big vote for affordable military spending.
Brazil will now open negotiations to agree terms of the contract with Saab, which could take another 10 to 12 months, Defense Minister Celso Amorim told reporters. The first Saab Gripen jets could be ready by 2018, and Saab would deliver 12 jets per year, he said
Brazilian Air Force Brigadier Juniti Saito said of the key factors was Saab's willingness to share technology with Brazil, and that about 80% of the plane's parts will be made in Brazil. The aircraft will be built through a partnership with the Brazilian Air Force and Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer SA, he said.