Major Aviator Cristiano de Oliveira Peres, a Brazilian Air Force (FAB) test pilot, carried out the first flight of a Brazilian pilot in the new fighter F-39 Gripen E, in Sweden on Thursday, August 20. The aircraft took off from the airfield of Saab in Linköping and flew over the Baltic Sea for approximately 50 minutes. Major Cristiano has been in Linköping since January and has undergone a series of training sessions that qualified him for piloting the aircraft. Among them, the study of the technical documentation of the F-39 Gripen and many hours of training in simulators. The activity is part of the verification of the flight and piloting qualities of the aircraft.
On 24 October 2014, Brazil and Sweden signed a 39.3 billion SEK (US$ 5.44 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. The Brazilian Navy is interested in the Sea Gripen to replace its Douglas A-4KU Skyhawk carrier-based fighters. In 2015, Brazil and Sweden finalised the deal to develop the Gripen F, designated F-39 by Brazil.
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 handed over to the Brazilian Air Force on 10 September 2019 for the flight test programme; the fighter is expected to arrive in Brazil in September 2020, and continue testing from Embraer’s headquarters in Gavião Peixoto, São Paulo. The first deliveries of the operational fighters will begin in 2021. 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. The Brazilian Air Force has a requirement for 108 Gripens, to be delivered in three batches.
The Saab JAS 39 Gripen is a light single-engine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab. The Gripen has a delta wing and canard configuration with relaxed stability design and fly-by-wire flight controls. It is powered by the Volvo RM12, and has a top speed of Mach 2. Later aircraft are modified for NATO interoperability standards and to undertake air to air refuelling. An updated and redeveloped version, designated Gripen JAS 39E/F but also referred to as Gripen NG or Super JAS, began deliveries to the Swedish and Brazilian air forces as of 2019. As of 2020, more than 271 Gripens of all models, A–F, have been built.