Gripen's technology centre in Brazil
In 2016, the city of Gavião Peixoto welcomed the newly established Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN), the focal point of the transfer of technology between the Sweden and Brazil. GDDN is where Saab and Embraer develop and innovate defence technology and security for Brazil, along with the other partners of the Brazilian Gripen Programme.
The Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN) was inaugurated in November 2016, which was an important milestone for the Brazilian Gripen Programme, since the centre is the hub for technology transfer and development of the fighters in Brazil. Both Brazilian and Swedish engineers work at the GDDN, developing the Gripen E/F in areas such as vehicle systems, aeronautical engineering, airframe design, systems installation, system integration, avionics, human-machine interface and communications.
The technology hub is located at Embraer's plant in Gavião Peixoto, a small city in the state of São Paulo with a population of only a little more than 4,000. The GDDN is tasked to be the central axis of much of the technological development done by Saab and Embraer for the new Brazilian jet fighter, in cooperation with other Brazilian companies, such as AEL Sistemas and Atech.
GDDN is the materialisation of a major project between Brazil and Sweden. Through the GDDN, the Brazilian Gripen Programme will provide significant autonomy for the local air force, including logistic support and the integration of weapons and systems, thus consolidating a major improvement in FAB's capabilities for aircraft development.
GDDN provides secure connection between Saab in Sweden, which enables the joint execution of Gripen's development, testing and verification, and support system projects in this environment.
"This type of experience adds to the careers of everyone involved, because of the interaction they have with other professionals from different cultures. This direct connection with Sweden creates an easier decision-making flow and drives the development of Gripen. It is an unique opportunity to take part in the development cycle for a jet fighter for Brazil," says Felipe Langellotti Silva, an Embraer product development engineer.
In addition to the development of Gripen E (single-seat), most of Gripen F (two-seat) development is also done at the GDDN by Brazilian engineers, with the support of Saab. Initially, Gripen F is developed exclusively for the Brazilian Air Force, and of the 36 aircraft acquired by Brazil, eight will be twin-seaters.
In November 2019, the so-called S-Rig (systems rig), which is the first Gripen development simulator installed outside of Sweden, was inaugurated at the GDDN. The S-Rig is used for Gripen development and integration tests in addition to verification of systems and sub-systems. The S-Rig will also provide support to the activities of the Gripen Flight Test Centre (GFTC), which was established in the last quarter of 2020. The GFTC is partly located in the GDDN building, in which Saab and Embraer conduct the preparations for flight test and also analyse the results.
The transfer of technology applied to the Brazilian Gripen Programme needs specialised professionals and encourages Brazil to enhance its research and development programmes in the aviation sector. Acquiring this technology indicates that also the industry is prepared and ready to support the Brazilian Air Force in Gripen's operation, maintenance and future upgrades.