In a timeline of many accomplishments, the Gripen Programme has set one of the most important milestones since its inception: the inaugural flight of the first Brazilian Gripen E. On August 26, 2019, the fighter took the skies of Linköping, Sweden, and performed the first flight test that verified basic handling and flight qualities at different altitudes and speeds.
Since December 2013 - when Saab won the FX-2 bid for reequipping the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) with a new fighter aircraft fleet - the company began one of the largest technology transfer programmes in the history of Sweden. The agreement included an intense industrial cooperation for the development and production of 36 Gripen E (single-seater) and F (two-seater).The programme made it possible for the national industry and FAB itself to have unprecedented access to all levels of technology.
In 2015, the first 50 Brazilian engineers and technicians moved to Sweden to begin their training through theoretical and on-the-job training, according to their roles in the Gripen Programme. They were the first of a group of more than 350 Brazilians that will be involved in this extensive technology transfer programme until the end of the fighters’ production.
The inauguration of the Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN) at the Embraer plant in Gavião Peixoto - São Paulo was another important milestone in the Gripen Programme in 2016. GDDN is considered the development hub for Gripen's technological development in Brazil and currently employs 105 Brazilian engineers and 18 Swedish expatriates working on the programme. This number can reach 280 engineers over the years.
In 2018, the presentation of Saab Aeronáutica Montagens (SAM) facilities in the city of São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo, was another milestone of Saab's commitment to Brazil. The plant will produce aero-structural segments for the Brazilian Gripen, such as the tail cone, aerodynamic brakes, wing box, single-seater and two-seater front fuselage, as well as the rear fuselage of the fighters that will later be assembled in Embraer's plant in Gavião Peixoto. SAM’s management team is already working at the plant and, by 2020, the entire production area will be ready to begin working on the Gripen parts.
The next steps will include the flight testing, certification and delivery of aircraft to the customer!