More facts on Brazilian Gripen deal

Look to the future: a computer generated image of a Saab Gripen E in Brazilian colours. (Image © Saab)
Look to the future: a computer generated image of a Saab Gripen E in Força Aérea Brasileira colours. (Image © Saab)

Putting some signatures under a done deal is all a formality of course, but still the signing of the Gripen E/F contract between Brazil and Saab produced some new facts on Monday 27 October 2014. The Força Aérea Brasileira can expect its first of 36 next generation Gripen E/F NG to arrive in 2019, with deliveries completed in 2024. The first unit to receive the new model will be the 1st Air Defence Group, based in Anapolis.

According to today’s news, the Brazilian order is made up of 28 Gripen E single seaters plus 8 Gripen F two seaters. Brazil will participate in the development of the latter, and will also be entirely reponsible for production.

On 18 December 2013 Brazil selected the Gripen E/F, also known as Gripen NG, to be its next-generation fighter aircraft, through the F-X2 evaluation programme. Since then both parties have negotiated to finalise a contract, which was ultimately signed today. The total order value is approximately 5.3 billion USD. Also, a contract was signed for industrial co-operation projects, including technology transfer to Brazilian industry, to be performed over approximately ten years.

The knowledge gain will mean a lot to Brazil, says Lieutenant-Brigadier Alvani Adam Silva, Director of the Brazilian Department of Aerospace Science and Technology (DCTA): “It will be a leap, not only for Embraer, but for our industry in general. For over 18 years we have waited for this moment. And it’s sure to usher in a new era for operational fighter aviation in Brazil.”

Brazil plans to lease a number of Gripen C/D fighter aircraft to fill the gap left by decommissioning the Mirage 2000, but also to prepare pilots and technicians for the Gripen E/F. The Gripen concept is different from most other fighter aircraft, as found it when visiting this Czech Air Force Gripen unit. Negotiations for the lease should be concluded by the end of the year.

Including the Brazilian order, Saab has now secured 96 orders for the Gripen NG. Earlier, Sweden opted for 60 aircraft, and that number should rise by another ten. These aircraft will be brand new and not – as suggested earlier – be produced by using parts of older Gripen C/D fighters.

© 2014 editor Elmer van Hest