The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) held a ceremony on 19 December at the Anápolis Air Base (BAAN) marking the beginning of operational activities of the Gripen E fighters (referred to as Gripen F-39 in Brazil) by the First Air Defense Group (1st GDA). This important customer milestone follows the flight test phase in Brazil that started in September 2020 with the arrival of the test aircraft in the country, and which were conducted at the Gripen Flight Test Center (GFTC) located at the Embraer plant in Gavião Peixoto. At the event two Gripen fighters made a presentation flight led by FAB pilots Lieutenant Colonel Gustavo Pascotto, Commander of the 1st GDA, and Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Lincoln Santos Fórneas. The Brazilian pilots carried out their training with Gripen E in Sweden. They also practiced for today’s flight on the mission trainers, which are installed at the Anápolis Air Base.
“The start of operational activities with Gripen E by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) is an extremely important day. It marks the beginning of a new operational era for FAB but also is the result of years of hard work done in partnership with the Air Force and with our Brazilian industry partners: Embraer, AEL Sistemas, Akaer, Atech, and our own subsidiaries in Brazil. Brazil now has one of the most advanced fighters in the world. This is currently the most extensive ongoing technology transfer programme in Brazil and it is definitely the largest one ever done by any Swedish company, bringing to the Brazilian defence industry the knowledge to develop, produce, test and maintain an advanced supersonic fighter. We are very proud to be a strategic partner to Brazil,” said Saab’s President and CEO Micael Johansson.
In November, Saab achieved the certification necessary for the military use of Gripen E, which attests that the aircraft has met certain airworthiness and flight safety requirements which was an important step prior to operational activities with the FAB. This was granted by both the Swedish and Brazilian military authorities, represented by the Swedish Military Aviation Safety Inspectorate (FLYGI) and the Industrial Fostering and Coordination Institute (IFI) in Brazil. The joint certification reflects the synergy obtained through the technical cooperation between the two authorities in each country.
The Saab JAS 39 Gripen (Griffin) is a light single-engine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace and defense company Saab AB. The Gripen has a delta wing and canard configuration with relaxed stability design and fly-by-wire flight controls. Later aircraft are fully NATO interoperable. To market the aircraft internationally, Saab formed partnerships and collaborative efforts with overseas aerospace companies. A major redesign of the Gripen series, previously referred to as Gripen NG (Next Generation) or Super JAS, now designated JAS 39E/F Gripen began deliveries to the Swedish Air Force and Brazilian Air Force in 2019. Changes from the JAS C to JAS E include a larger fuselage, a more powerful engine, an increased weapons payload capability, and new cockpit, avionics architecture, electronic warfare system and other improvements.