Brazil's Defense Ministry says the government has chosen Sweden's Saab as the winner of a long-delayed bid for a $4.5 billion fighter jet purchase.

That means Brazil will buy at least 36 Gripen NG fighter jets.

Few expected the Gripen to be chosen over Boeing's F-18 Super Hornet or France's Dassault Rafale jet.

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva preferred the French fighter. Current leader Dilma Rousseff was said to be in favor of purchasing Boeing's jet.

However, some analysts say the tide turned against Boeing after news broke six months ago of a massive U.S. spying program that had directly targeted Rousseff's own communications.