SAAB expects to have an answer from the Colombian AF in late 2019 or early 2020. Although the actual interest of the AF is for twin engine multirole fighters, budget restraints -being among the largest defense expenditures in Latin America- would turn this interest towards the Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70 or SAAB’s JAS-39E “Gripen”
Next October 4th, the Argentine AF will phase out its IA-58’s in a ceremony at the Reconquista AB. This will close a 44-year service span of the argentine designed and built aircraft. The Pucara have been exported to Colombia, Uruguay and Sri Lanka.
Following the Cenepa air war between Ecuador and Peru in 1995, the Peru AF purchased from Belarus, 16 MIG-29S and 2 MIG-29UB, which were completed in 1999 with three MIG-29 SE more. Being among the most advanced and powerful fighters in Latin America until the deployment of the Chile AF’s advanced F-16’s -mostly in response to them- and the Venezuelan Su-30MK2’s. Considering the fact that they were not directly purchased to the Russian Federation, a logistics and support agreement was needed but still, relations improved and an agreement to convert 8 aircraft into the SMP standard was signed in 2008. Although not so extensive as the SMT versions, the SMP standard turned to improve both existing avionics and the aircraft’s human/machine interface and also to replace obsolescent components. A complete overhaul and an air to air refueling probe was integrated to the selected aircraft.
Since the reported issues on to maintain and operate their current MEKO 360H2 frigates, it was come to the knowledge of the Argentine Navy that the logistics of the Rolls Royce Olympus and Tyne marine turbines is set to be discontinued within 24 months. This has come to affect current frigates of Argentina, Brazil and Chile navies. Such Almirante Brown class frigates have never had any comprehensive upgrades and both an engine replacement and these systems replacements can come both too expensive and too late. Recent publications have disclosed the fact that the French Marine Nationale has chosen to withhold two La Fayette class frigates, out of five, from being upgraded considering that expects a new class of frigates to replace this class. A quarter of century ago, these frigates were among the first to present a “stealth” design.
The Bolivian senator Alberto Murillo denounced the former defense minister, Cecilia Chacon, for the purchase of six Chinese helicopters, Harbin H-425. According to the senator, this purchase was made first and later formally approved. He also declared that such helicopters are underperforming in high altitude and lack modern avionics. “Eurocopter sent two proposals, one for six AS365 Dauphin helicopters for a total 87.2 million U.S. dollars. The other one for six EC145 which was to be paid even less, at 59.8 million U.S. dollars.
Saab today completed a successful first flight with the first Brazilian Gripen E fighter aircraft, 39-6001. At 2.41 pm CET on August 26, the Gripen E aircraft took off on its maiden flight flown by Saab test pilot Richard Ljungberg. The aircraft operated from Saab´s airfield in Linköping, Sweden.
The duration of the flight was 65 minutes and included test points to verify basic handling and flying qualities at different altitudes and speeds. The main purpose was to verify that the aircraft behavior was according to expectations.
The results of the argentine open general primaries have provoked a massive turmoil with both financial and political consequences. The argentine currency collapsed by 25%, with a massive increase on the default risk rating by Fitch even when this was a big poll with no actual binding consequences to the frontrunners, in this case Alberto Fernandez and the in-office President Mauricio Macri. An important and yet inconclusive difference in favor to Alberto Fernandez will put the pressure in Macri’s administration which has less than 60 days to produce results, or for his rival to fail before the October 27th general election. To guarantee calm in both the argentine people and the markets, foreign and domestic, several meetings took place in the next days between administration officers and Alberto Fernandez’s advisors. These meetings and a so-called covenant were called for to contain the turmoil at least for the campaign and the elections to take place in a scenario of a certain stability.
According to the website Poder Naval, the Defense Ministry decided to put to sale two U 209-1400 submarines of the Brazilian Navy, submarines Timbira (S-32) and Tapajo (S-33). Such a decision apparently has been backed by the Navy’s Admiralty in August 1st Fortnight. The Brazilian Navy expects to receive, if done, from 200 to 300 million U.S. dollars for the sale. Although there has been both an interest and an offering for the Argentine Navy, which is close to having no more submarines, the Peruvian and Polish Navies are at the forefront of this negotiation. The current financial and political situation in Argentina conspire against a successful agreement, also with the declining in bilateral relations based in media statements made by both the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro and a strong candidate for the upcoming general election, Alberto Fernandez.
According to Infodefensa, a government publication informed that on June 12, SAAB AB representatives met with the General Rafael Carrere of the FACh Logistics Command. Although no numbers on quantity or price have been given, the detail states that an offer was made to the Chile AF for JAS-39 C single seat and JAS-39D two seat multirole fighters. These were offered in the MS20 standard, which implemented both hardware and software improvements. SAAB might be offering both new and surplus JAS-39C/D aircraft. The major one in hardware is the integration of the MBDA Meteor BVR missile and the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB).
On Aug 16th, aircraft FAU 534 from the Uruguayan Air Force was about to take flight from the Durazno AB, home of the II Air Brigade, when both of its TPE-331 engines caught fire. According to an official statement issued on the same day, AB firemen rapidly extinguished it. A military accidents investigation board was sent to the scene. Although no official conclusions have been published, El Acontecer newspaper indicates that this fire was caused by an electrical failure. Still, in 2017 an Airworthiness Directive was issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency that investigated the fire of a Casa 212-EE of the Spanish Air Force in which interference of a fuel pipe and a bleed tube caused a leakage.