Will Saudi Arabia participate in the future development of a new Fifth Generation Multi-Role Fighter?

Patricia Marins

Embraer and SAMI from Saudi Arabia recently signed three technological memorandums focused on security and defense, particularly in the aerospace industry, marking another step in cooperation between the countries.

The first deal was a memorandum of understanding on cooperation and partnerships with the Saudi government, represented by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Investment and GACA, the country’s aeronautical authority.

The second memorandum was with SAMI, the main Saudi defense and security corporation and a subsidiary of the local Public Investment Fund.

This was the most significant memorandum, exclusively focused on aviation and mentioning several projects forthe Embraer cargo aircraft KC-390. However, I’m aware that sectors of the Brazilian Ministry of Defense are seeking partners for the Brazilian Fifth Generation Multi-Role Fighter, and Saudi Arabia and the UAE would be ideal collaborators for this project.

Recently, the Saab Gripen began assembly in Brazil as part of a large program, that also involve technology transfer between SAAB, Embraer, and AKAER.

The AKAER is a Brazilian company involved in the development of the HÜRJET, the fifth-gen Turkish fighter, being responsible for the rear parts of the aircraft, including systems.

SAAB owns 15% of AKAER, and the technology transfer program involving swedish and Brazilian companies is scheduled for completion in 2028.

However, two months ago, during a presentation in parliament, the Brazilian Air Force already discussed the project. I believe there is momentum towards a joint effort between Brazil, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE for the development of this new aircraft, with SAAB’s direct participation or through Brazilian companies like AKAER.

Part Map of the new Gripen assembled

Regarding the memorandum with the Saudis, a section stated: “opening of new opportunities for both companies across the aerospace sector,” suggesting a broader partnership for other aerospace projects.

The third memorandum was signed by Eve Air Mobility, an Embraer subsidiary, and flynas, the leading low-cost airline in the Middle East and globally.

The agreement focuses on air taxi operations in Saudi Arabia and a future local electric flight ecosystem. Over the past few years, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have formed significant partnerships in security and defense, particularly in missile systems and now in aerospace development.

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