The first two Brazilian Air Force pilots are to fly their future country’s main combat aircraft solo this January, sources within Swedish Air Force’s F7 Wing confirmed. The upcoming event marks an important step in the introduction into service of 36 to 108 Saab Gripen multi-role fighters by Latin America’s dominating country.
Swedish F7 wing – known as Skaraborgs flygflottilj – is the Operational Conversion Unit for all Gripen jocks. Two Força Aérea Brasileira jet pilots have been working toward their first so-called Single Command (EK) or solo flight since late last Autumn. Both pilots already have 1500 to 1800 flight hours within the FAB, flying the FAB’s aging F-5s and recently retired Mirage 2000s.
After about seven weeks of conversion training – with five flights on a two-seat Gripen with the instructor in the back and much more on the simulator – it will be time for them to board the Gripen C single-seat for the first ride alone.
After completion of this first training, the two Brazilian officers will go through Combat Readiness Training before returning to Brazil to await the arrival of the first Gripen C/Ds to be leased by the FAB ahead of the procurement of the more advanced Gripen E that will be newly built by Embraer and Saab.
Source: Forsvarsmakten / SAAB