Swedish aerospace and defense company Saab is assembling 15 F-39E Gripen combat aircraft at Embraer‘s factory in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
The fighter production line, inaugurated in May, is an offshoot of the $5.04 billion order for 36 Gripen fighters that Brazil initiated in 2014, with four more added in 2022 to double the country’s air force fleet.
A technology-sharing agreement between Saab and Brazilian engineers is also included in the contract, Defense News reported.
Brazilian Defense Minister José Mucio Monteiro Filho told the publication that the Gripen fleet expansion is one of the major projects under Brazil’s Growth Acceleration Program with a $10.6 billion allocation for military programs.
Other programs under Brazil’s growth plan include the purchase of nine Embraer C-390 Millennium planes, including the model’s refueling version, the official added.
Saab said in May that the delivery of the first Gripen fighters assembled in Brazil is expected in 2025, which also marks the first time the aircraft will be built away from the Linkoping site in southern Sweden.
According to the company, the Brazilian Air Force 1st Air Defense Group has completed Gripen training in partnership with the Swedish Air Force’s Phoenix Squadron.
The new Gripens now in service were officially inducted at Anapolis Air Base in December 2022. “The start of operational activities with Gripen E by the Brazilian Air Force is an extremely important day,” Saab’s President and CEO Micael Johansson said in a statement to mark the key milestone.
“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.”