Saab Aeronáutica Montagens (SAM), Saab’s first aerostructures plant outside of Sweden for the new Gripen E/F fighter, reaches another important milestone with the start of production. This site builds sections of Gripen, which will then be delivered to the final assembly facilities at the Embraer plant in Gavião Peixoto, São Paulo, Brazil and to Linköping, Sweden. Currently, SAM has more than 70 highly qualified employees, half of whom are participating or have already participated in the ToT Programme in Sweden. Part of these employees have already completed the training and returned to initiate the production in Brazil.
In 2014, Saab signed a contract with Brazilian government for the development and production of 36 Gripen E/F aircraft. In September last year, the first Brazilian Gripen E aircraft was delivered to start the flight test programme. Now, another milestone is reached, as Gripen production starts at the SAM plant, which is located in São Bernardo do Campo, a city in the metropolitan area of São Paulo in Brazil. The tail cone and front fuselage of the single-seat version of the Gripen fighter are the first aerostructures to enter into production at SAM. Subsequently, the aerodynamic brakes, rear fuselage, wing box and front fuselage for the two-seater version will also be manufactured at SAM.
On 24 October 2014, Brazil and Sweden signed a 39.3 billion SEK (US$ 5.44 bn, R$ 13 bn) contract for 28 Gripen E and 8 Gripen F fighters for delivery from 2019 to 2024 and maintained until 2050; the Swedish government will provide a subsidised 25-year, 2.19% interest rate loan for the buy. At least 15 aircraft are to be assembled in Brazil, Brazilian companies shall be involved in its production; Gripen Fs are to be delivered later. An almost US$1 billion price increase since selection is due to developments requested by Brazil, such as the “wide area display” (WAD), a panoramic 19 by 8 inches touchscreen display. The compensation package is set at US$9 billion, or 1.7 times the order value
The first Brazilian F-39E Gripen flight took place on 26 August 2019, from Saab’s factory airfield in Linköping, Sweden. The first F-39E was delivered to the Brazilian Air Force on 10 September 2019 for the flight test programme, the fighter is expected to arrive in Brazil in October 2020, and continue testing from Embraer’s headquarters in Gavião Peixoto, São Paulo. The first deliveries of the operational fighters will begin in 2021. According to Saab executive Eddy De La Motte, the first F-39F will be delivered in 2023. Saab chief executive Håkan Buskhe confirmed negotiations with Brazil to purchase a new batch of 36 Gripen E/Fs; a contract is expected to be signed in 2021 or 2022.