Military Aviation

Brazilian Air Force puts Gripen E into operational service

The Brazilian Air Force held a ceremony on Dec. 19, 2022 at the Anápolis Air Base 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.

The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) held a ceremony on Dec. 19, 2022 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.

“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,” said Saab’s President and CEO Micael Johansson in a company press release.

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.

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.

“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,” concluded Johansson.

The Brazilian Gripen Programme began in 2013 when Saab successfully bid for the F-X2 Programme to replace the jet fighter fleet operated by the FAB. In October 2014 a contract was signed with the Brazilian government for the development and production of 36 aircraft. In 2024 the last jet fighter will be delivered to FAB, but the partnership between Saab and Brazil is expected to go on for a long time through a wide-ranging technology transfer that will enable Brazil to develop, produce and maintain supersonic jet fighters.

According to a SAAB news release, in addition to meeting the military requirements established by FAB, Gripen had the lowest lifecycle operating costs. “Gripen was sold with the commitment to transfer technology necessary for the development of the Brazilian aerospace industry. [This] means [that] Brazil can be involved in the development of the project, which will give the Brazilian industry and FAB unprecedented access to all levels of technology,” explains Lieutenant General Juniti Saito, former Brazilian Air Force Commander.

Photo credit: SAAB

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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