The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) has announced the start of operational activities of its Gripen E fighter aircraft at the Anápolis Air Base (BAAN) in the country.

The First Air Defense Group (1st GDA) will begin using the aircraft which is referred to as Gripen F-39 in Brazil.

The milestone was marked by a ceremony held on 19 December and a presentation flight by the aircraft.

During the ceremony, FAB pilots 1st GDA commander lieutenant colonel Gustavo Pascotto, and lieutenant colonel Ramon Lincoln Santos Fórneas flew two Gripen fighters.

Saab president and CEO Micael Johansson said: “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.”

In September 2020, Brazil started the flight test phase with the test aircraft at the Gripen Flight Test Center (GFTC), the Embraer plant in Gavião Peixoto.

Last year, Saab commenced the Gripen E serial delivery phase and transferred four aircraft to the FAB.

The FAB pilots underwent training with Gripen E in Sweden as well as on the mission trainers installed at the BAAN.

Saab, the manufacturer of the aircraft, obtained certification for the aircraft’s airworthiness and flight safety requirements last month.

The Swedish Military Aviation Safety Inspectorate (FLYGI) and the Industrial Fostering and Coordination Institute (IFI) in Brazil granted the certification.  

Johansson added: “Brazil now has one of the most advanced fighters in the world. This is currently the most extensive ongoing technology transfer programme in Brazil, and it is definitely the largest one ever done by any Swedish company, bringing to the Brazilian defence industry the knowledge to develop, produce, test and maintain an advanced supersonic fighter.”