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Letter from the editor | 282

Technology Purchase

Five years ago, the Brazilian government signed a purchasing contract for a batch of military jets from Swedish company Saab. This month, the first model of the new generation Gripen E fighter is scheduled to take off from the city of Linköping, Sweden, to begin its flight test campaign, the last stage before delivery in 2021—the initial deadline was 2019.

Saab was chosen to upgrade the Brazilian fighter jet fleet via a fierce, 10-year-long bidding process that ended in 2014 with a US$4.1-billion contract for 36 new aircraft. Two of the major determining factors in the decision were that Brazilian companies would be given the chance to contribute to development of the jets—the Brazilian Air Force would not be purchasing a finished product—and a special commercial compensation agreement proposed by the Swedish company. Valued at US$9 billion, the agreement includes a transfer of technology (ToT) to Brazilian companies.

Development of the fighters advanced significantly before the deal was finalized, reducing the extent to which Brazil has been able to participate, but the companies involved in the ToT scheme believe the initiative has been a success. Led by Embraer, they have helped develop components such as screens for the jet cabins and parts of the fuselage. Production is planned to begin at a new factory in Brazil in 2020. The technologies being transferred relate to simulators and logistical support, among others. This issue’s cover story provides a detailed overview of the project, scheduled for completion in 2024. Its success will depend on budget, expenditure, and joint actions between the Brazilian Air Force and the companies involved.

This year, CEBRAP (the Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning) celebrated its 50th anniversary. Founded in 1969 during one of the darkest moments of the military dictatorship (1964–1985), it allowed a multidisciplinary team of researchers ousted from their universities to continue their scientific investigations in Brazil. It was there that demographer Elza Berquó conducted a pioneering study on human reproduction in the city of São Paulo. Thanks to endowments from the Ford Foundation and a diverse funding policy that balanced public and private investment, CEBRAP was able to support itself as a private, nonprofit research center. With a portfolio of around 500 research projects to date, it remains a vibrant hub that continues to produce knowledge on political, economic, and social issues, working closely with other researchers and agencies in areas such as metropolis studies, analysis of the relationships between public policy and the reduction of inequality, digital inclusion, and technological innovation.

The initial team included renowned researchers such as José Artur Giannotti, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Cândido Procópio Ferreira de Camargo, and sociologist Francisco de Oliveira, who died at the age of 85 in July. Chico de Oliveira, as he was known, worked with Celso Furtado at SUDENE from 1959 to 1964 and promoted dialogue between sociology and political economy during his research into the ambiguities of Brazil’s modernization process.