Politics, it seems, is now being openly accepted as the deciding factor in defense deals.
After Eurofighter acknowledged something that is common knowledge last week, Sweden’s Gripen too has vented similarly, in the context of the Brazilian fighter aircraft tender.
Expactica quotes Saab chief executive, Aake Svensson, as telling Swedish news agency TT, “It is always a political decision, and that is why it is very difficult to predict the outcome.”
While the Brazilian Air Force is said to favor the Gripen, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has indicated his preference for the French Dassault’s Rafale.
And so, just to show that political lightweight Sweden can play the game too, King Carl Gustaf is in Brazil to pitch for the Gripen. According to Defense News, Swedish Defense Minister Sten Tolgfors will be making the case to his Brazilian opposite number, Nelson Jobin, who was in India recently.
Boeing’s F/A-18 is also in the running, but is seen as a dark horse, also because of the politics. For one thing, it does not seem to offer the kind of transfer of technology that the other two contenders are offering, because of US laws, and secondly, Brazil hasn’t exactly been ecstatic about US military involvement in Columbia.
The Brazilian decision is said to be imminent now, as it was in September-October last year, and several times since.
Politics is also likely to start figuring in the Indian Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) tender process once trials are over in May. Amongst other things perhaps.