CORRECTED-Saab dismisses prospect of Gripen jet fighters sale to Argentina

lunes 4 de mayo de 2015 12:31 GYT

(In APRIL 27 story, corrects paragraphs 3 and 4 to make clear Saab spokesman was commenting on whether it could remove UK content, and adds engineering impact)

LINKOPING, Sweden, April 27 (Reuters) - Sweden's Saab AB on Monday ruled out facilitating the sale of Gripen fighter aircraft to Argentina as the result of a deal to build and export combat jets from Brazil.

Argentina has expressed interest in buying 24 Gripen fighter jets from its Latin American neighbour once Brazil is able to export them, early next decade.

Such a deal would face an almost certain veto from Britain, which provides some 30 percent of the Gripen's content, including the radar on its next-generation Gripen E/F.

Saab said it was not involved in any discussions involving the removal of UK content from the Gripen, a step considered unavoidable before the jet could be exported to Argentina.

"Nobody has asked us to do that and we are not considering it," a spokesman said during a defence media briefing, asked whether Saab could remove UK-supplied systems, which would involve extensive engineering changes in the aircraft.

Relations between Britain and Argentina remain tense since a war 33 years ago over the Falkland Islands, known as Las Malvinas in Argentina.

Late last year, Brazilian defence officials forecast more demand for Saab Gripen aircraft, including from Argentina.

Saab has sold 60 Gripen Es to Sweden and is finalizing an order for another 36 to Brazil, which will also co-develop a two-seat version Saab calls Gripen F and Brazilian officials call Gripen NG.   Continuación...