* Bidding process extended by two weeks (Adds new Brazil air force statement)
STOCKHOLM, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Swedish defense and aerospace firm Saab (SAABb.ST) on Tuesday denied requesting an extended deadline from Brazil's air force in the tender for the country's next-generation fighter jets. The Brazilian air force, which said on Monday that Saab had asked for more time, changed its tune on Tuesday, saying the request had come from all the bidders.
The other two finalists in the bidding process are France's Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA) and U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co (BA.N).
Saab's top executive, Ake Svensson, told a press conference that the company had not requested a delay. He said Saab could have handed in the tender on Monday, when it received notice that the bidding process would be extended by two weeks.
The new deadline is Oct. 2.
The Brazilian air force said in a statement on Monday that Saab had asked for more time to present improved bids. [ID:nN21282585] But on Tuesday the air force said in a statement on its Web site that the extension had been requested by all "the competing companies."
An air force spokesman told Reuters he could not explain the correction.
Brazil is seeking a generous technology transfer offer and local assembly as part of a contract to buy 36 jet fighters. The deal could eventually rise to more than 100 aircraft.
Latin America's largest country has signed a strategic defense alliance with France, and the government has expressed preference for Dassault's Rafale plane.
But since the visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy in early September, Swedish and U.S. officials have tried to sway decision-makers in Brazil. Saab's entry is the Gripen, and Boeing's is the F/A-18 Super Hornet.
Brazil's president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, said the air force would analyze the proposals from a technological standpoint. But he said the final decision was his and would be based on political and strategic considerations.
(Reporting by Victoria Klesty in Stockholm and Raymond Colitt in Brasilia; editing by John Wallace)