After delivering the first planes to Brazil and starting negotiations in Colombia, Saab is now targeting Peru as another potential market in Latin America for the new Gripen E/F fighter.
On a visit to the defense and security event LAAD 2023, in Rio Janeiro, Micael Johansson, CEO and president of Saab, said in an interview with Reuters that “Colombia and Peru are the first countries that come to mind” after Brazil in terms of sales of the Swedish fighter jet.
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Saab’s interest in the Peruvian market was revealed two days after the Swedish manufacturer and Embraer signed a Memorandum of Understanding to expand the Gripen program in Latin America.
In this context, Brazil would be the center for the development and production of aircraft purchased by air forces in the region. The fighter’s Brazilian assembly line will be inaugurated on April 27th.
“Brazil is super important to us, Colombia is hopefully next in line and then we’ll see what Peru will do,” said Johansson, adding that Saab has received inquiries from other countries about the Gripen.
The Peruvian Air Force currently has around 20 fighters of different origins, the Dassault Mirage 2000 and the MiG-29.
The Peruvian fleet with attack capability also includes around 40 Sukhoi Su-25 jets and the veteran Cessna A-37 Dragonfly. More versatile, the Gripen could take on the roles of all these aircraft.
Second batch of Gripen for Brazil
Despite the statements made by the CEO of Saab, the Peruvian government has not commented on a possible purchase of fighter jets for the air force.
A negotiation in this sense, however, should not go ahead in the short term, due to the serious moment of social and political instability in Peru.
While seeking new customers on the continent, Saab is preparing to negotiate a second batch of Gripen fighters for Brazil. The country’s new Minister of Defense, José Múcio, confirmed that there is a study to expand the fleet, currently estimated at 40 aircraft.
According to rumors, the Brazilian Air Force may close a new order for 30 Gripen fighters, which would be enough to withdraw from service all F-5 Tiger II and AMX currently active.