Saab has started manufacturing the first two-seater fighter aircraft Gripen F for the Brazilian Air Force.

The work programme began with the Swedish company performing the first metal cut for the fighter aircraft.

Brazilian Air Force Monitoring and Control Group (GAC-Saab) head colonel Renato Leite said: “This milestone is important for the Gripen project because it demonstrates that the development phase is proceeding properly.

“This signals the beginning of the production of the two-seater aircraft, Gripen F, which is much anticipated by the Brazilian Air Force.”

The Gripen F shares same design configuration and features as of Gripen E, but it comes with an additional seat, displays and controls for the second crew member.

The two-seater aircraft can operate on training mode with one crew member and another where both the crew members will share the workload.

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By GlobalData

The manufacturing programme also involves Brazilian partner companies Embraer, AEL Sistemas, Akaer and Atech.

Overall, around 400 engineers are associated with the development of Gripen F while manufacturing works will be carried out in Sweden as well as in Brazil at the Embraer plant in Gavião Peixoto.

Saab Aeronautics head Jonas Hjelm said: “Very effective teamwork among many dedicated people, both in Sweden and in Brazil, paved the way for this milestone on this new version of Gripen.

“These kind of milestones are special moments due to their rarity and that feels great.”

The Swedish firm has been contracted to deliver eight Gripen F fighters to Brazil starting from 2023. Saab will also supply 28 Gripen E fighters with deliveries slated to begin from next year.

Last month, Saab completed its participation in the Finnish Air Force testing and evaluation event with Gripen E and GlobalEye AEW&C aircraft.