Embraer confirms the company’s role in Brazil’s F-X fighter programme has expanded since the air force awarded the $4.5 billion contract to Saab to deliver 36 Gripen NG fighters.

“It’s fair to say we’re seeing a larger role than what we foresaw before the contract was selected,” says chief executive Frederico Curado, speaking to analysis on a second quarter earnings call on 31 July.

In the extended saga of the F-X2 selection process, discerning Embraer’s preferences and future role in the industrial offset programme was a frequent topic of speculation.

In 2009, a top Embraer executive noted that Brazilian industry stood to benefit the most by aligning with Saab over rival bids from the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Dassault Rafale.

Embraer officially remained neutral over the course of the selection process, but corporately it formed a wider, strategic partnership with Boeing.

Embraer’s absence was noted last December in the formal announcement by the Brazilian air force, which selected the Gripen for the F-X2 deal.

In the months, the role of Embraer and other suppliers have been clarified.

The Brazilian Gripens will be assembled at Embraer’s military factory and flight test centre in Gaviao Peixoto, Curado says.

Embraer also will play a role in developing the two-seat version of the Gripen NG, he adds. It would mark Embraer’s first significant effort in designing and producing a new supersonic aircraft.

“We probably have a higher participation in that development than what we foresaw several months ago,” Curado says.

Source: FlightGlobal.com