The event was attended by high-ranking civil and military authorities, as well as representatives from various sectors of Brazilian society. The President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, participated in the ceremony, together with the Minister of Defense, José Mucio Monteiro Filho and the Brazilian Air Force Commander, Air Force General Marcelo Kanitz Damasceno, among other important guests.
The inauguration of the final assembly line, which is the only one for Gripen E outside of Sweden, marks the delivery of one of the most significant contributions to the Gripen fighter ecosystem in Brazil. The Embraer plant in Gavião Peixoto with the Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN), the Gripen Flight Test Center (GFTC), and now the assembly line, is home to the development, production and testing stages of the aircraft.
Since the signing of the contract to supply 36 Gripen fighters – 28 Gripen E (single seater) and 8 Gripen F (twin seater) – to the Brazilian Air Force in 2014, Saab and Embraer have been working together on the largest ongoing technology transfer project in the country. Recently, with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the companies, the production line has also become an opportunity for new business.
“The start of operations of the Gripen production line marks our commitment to transfer technology and knowledge to Brazilian industry. Here, we will produce 15 of the 36 aircraft currently contracted to the Brazilian Air Force. The aim is also to produce here any future Gripen orders from Brazil as well as other countries. We want Brazil to become an export hub to Latin America and potentially other regions”, said Micael Johansson, President and CEO of Saab.
“Today we celebrate not only the inauguration of the Gripen fighter production line, but also the success of the collaboration between Saab and Embraer, which grows stronger every day with the common goal of serving our client, the Brazilian Air Force. Since the beginning, Embraer has played a relevant role in the Gripen programme, participating, for instance, in the development of the Brazilian version of the twin-seater aircraft. As a natural evolution of this relationship, we hope that we can soon expand our business together into new markets,” said Bosco da Costa Junior, President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security.
“The start of production of the F-39 Gripen aircraft in Brazil symbolizes the achievement of an ambitious project that translates itself into technology transfer, job creation and the consequent development of Brazil’s aerospace sector. Thanks to a solid partnership between the Air Force, Saab and Embraer, we are now part of the select group of countries that have the capability to build supersonic aircraft. Congratulations to all involved!” said the Brazilian Air Force Commander, General Marcelo Kanitz Damasceno.
The production line at Embraer receives the aerostructures produced at the Saab plants in Linköping (Sweden) and São Bernardo do Campo (São Paulo State, Brazil).
Once a Gripen is completed, functional tests and production flights are carried out in order to prepare the aircraft for final delivery. The Embraer plant will be responsible for producing 15 Gripen E fighters. Units assembled in Brazil will be delivered from 2025.
In order to acquire the necessary skills for the production of supersonic fighter jets in Brazil, Embraer technicians carried out theoretical and practical training – on-the-job training – at Saab in Linköping. There they worked side by side with Swedish employees to produce the aircraft that have already been shipped to Brazil.