The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) marked the official start of operations with the Gripen E fighters (referred to as Gripen F-39 in Brazil) with a ceremony at the Anápolis Air Base (BAAN) on December 19.
The first of the new fighters are being flown by the First Air Defense Group (1st GDA).
This important milestone follows the flight test phase in Brazil that started in September 2020 with the arrival of the test aircraft in the country. These took place at the Gripen Flight Test Center (GFTC) located at the Embraer plant in Gavião Peixoto.
In total, Brazil is buying 36 Gripen E and F models under a contract from 2014. While Gripen E deliveries began in 2021, dual-seat F-39Fs are set to begin arriving in 2023. Brazil expects to receive the final Gripen in 2026.
“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.
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.
“Brazil now has one of the most advanced fighters in the world. This is currently the most extensive ongoing technology transfer program in Brazil and it is definitely the largest one ever done by any Swedish company, bringing to the Brazilian defense 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.