Saab and Embraer have taken a significant step forward in their technology transfer program by inaugurating the final assembly line for the Gripen E fighter jet at Embraer‘s plant in Gavião Peixoto, São Paulo State.

The event was attended by high-ranking officials, including the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, marking a milestone in the companies’ commitment to working together on new business opportunities.

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The strategic South American-Scandinavian partnership

It was announced last month that Saab and Embraer would collaborate on the C-390 and Gripen fighter, where they will both share technology and expertise for the aircraft and fighters.

This marks a significant step forward in their technology transfer program, which has been ongoing since the Brazilian Air Force contracted Saab to supply 36 Gripen fighters in 2014.

“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.” said Bosco da Costa Junior, President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security.

According to GlobalData’s “Sweden Defence Market 2023-2028” report, the Gripen E is the latest variation of the Swedish-made fighter jet, costing $85m per unit, considerably more than the previous D and C variants. 

The President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, participated in the ceremony with the Minister of Defense, José Mucio Monteiro Filho, and the Brazilian Air Force Commander, Air Force General Marcelo Kanitz Damasceno, among other essential guests.

The Embraer plant in Gavião Peixoto, home to the Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN) and the Gripen Flight Test Center (GFTC), will also be responsible for the production stage of the aircraft.

Since signing the contract in 2014, Saab and Embraer have worked together on the country’s most significant ongoing technology transfer project. The production line has also become an opportunity for new business following the signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the companies.

Facilitating export opportunities

The production line at Embraer will receive aerostructures produced at the Saab plants in Linköping, Sweden, and São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo State. Once a Gripen is completed, functional tests and production flights are carried out to prepare the aircraft for final delivery.

The Embraer plant will produce 15 Gripen E fighters, with units assembled in Brazil to be delivered in 2025.

“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 any future Gripen orders from Brazil and other countries here. We want Brazil to become an export hub to Latin America and potentially other regions”, said Micael Johansson, President and CEO of Saab.

In July, the Saab company and the Brazilian Air Force will exhibit a Gripen E-type aircraft to the Colombian Air Force at F-Air 2023.

To acquire the necessary skills to produce supersonic fighter jets in Brazil, Embraer technicians carried out theoretical and practical training, including on-the-job training, at Saab’s facilities in Linköping. There, they worked with Swedish employees to produce the aircraft that had already been shipped to Brazil.

The inauguration of the final assembly line for the Gripen E fighter jet marks a significant achievement for Saab and Embraer and a substantial contribution to the Gripen fighter ecosystem in Brazil.

The event represents the companies’ commitment to working together on new business opportunities and is a testament to the ongoing success of the largest technology transfer project in the country.

In Saab’s Q1 report, they recorded substantial order intakes. The Swedish defence and security company reported a total order intake of Skr17bn ($16.4bn), a 110% increase from Q1 2022.