Transfer of Technology
A lot of people talk about career achievements and personal satisfaction. The professionals who left Brazil for Sweden, and vice versa, are the greatest intangible assets their countries possess, empowered by expertise. When the 36 Gripen jet fighters have been delivered to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) for 2024, some 350 engineers and technicians from both countries will have experienced this exciting experience of personal and professional growth.
To follow through on the technology transfer agreement between Saab and Brazil, Brazilians are sent to Sweden with their families for perhaps the greatest experience of their lives: working on the development of FAB's Gripen jet fighters and being a point of transfer for all this technology to Brazil. "My manager called me into the room, shook my hand and said, 'Congratulations, you're going to Sweden,'" says António da Fontoura, a hardware and software engineer at AEL. Our engineers have been developing the new Brazilian fighter along with their Swedish partners since 2015.
Asides from the mission to learn as much as possible over in Sweden, these Brazilians face the challenge of adapting to a new culture and a harsh winter. "We went there to learn how Gripen works. We were put into a team to learn the methodology and the tools the Swedes use to bring this knowledge back to Brazil and multiply it here. So the great challenge was to assimilate everything they hoped I would learn and at the same time help my family adapt to a new country," says Delmar Bacarin, an electronic engineer at Embraer and one of the first to leave for Sweden.
Between October 2015 and December 2017 over 100 Brazilian engineers were trained in Sweden. By the end of 2017 about 60 professionals were still having this experience at Saab, in Linköping.
This programme is not only special for the Brazilians. The Swedes who came to the Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN) in Brazil have adopted it and feel at home in Gavião Peixoto (São Paulo state), where the sun shines year round.
One of them, Peter Kronkvit, a software architect at Saab, began to learn Portuguese before applying for the position in Brazil. He joined the GDDN team to help the new team understand the system and adapt the technologies. "I have been involved in Gripen since before the model E. Our efforts are to implement the system information and data for professionals here in Brazil. In addition, we have developed the on-board computer system with the support and commitment of the AEL team. We are all very involved with this project and we know that we are dealing with very capable professionals, who do things very well and very quickly," says Peter.
The Brazilians in Sweden have also been through an immersion process. "We spent a whole week inside the simulators in order to understand how Gripen's system works, and we could also feel how these systems - such as the helmet - operate. It has a display that keeps information on the pilot's visor. If you have a designated target, when looking to the side, the helmet points to its location," explains engineer Antônio Fontoura. All this effort is to extend the versatility of Gripen to make sure it complies with FAB's requirements.