Saab this week announced that the Gripen E—a major enhancement of the original Gripen fighter design—has now entered the delivery phase. Six serial production aircraft have left the factory and are now being prepared and tested prior to delivery to the aircraft’s two customers. Four of the aircraft are destined for the Força Aérea Brasileira, and two for Sweden’s Flygvapnet.
The milestone was highlighted during a high-level presentation at Saab’s Linköping factory on November 24, which was attended by the commanders of the two air forces: General Carlos de Almeida Baptista Junior from Brazil, and Major General Carl-Johan Edström from Sweden. Senior Saab figures, including president and CEO Micael Johansson also attended.
“The start of the serial delivery phase is an extremely important achievement for the Gripen programme. It shows that we have a mature product and that we fulfill our contractual obligations,” said Johansson. “This all has been possible thanks to our smart ways of working, innovative production technologies and close cooperation with the customers.”
During the visit the Brazilian and Swedish delegations disussed joint activities, and were presented with displays from the new aircraft in the air and on the ground. They also visited and experienced the mission training simulator.
“It is a pleasure to follow the fulfilment of yet another step in the delivery process of the F-39 Gripen aircraft, which will lead the evolution of the Brazilian Air Force’s combat capability," commented General Baptista Junior. "This project represents a new technological level for Brazil and it is of fundamental importance in the development of our industrial defense base.”
Saab flew the first of three test aircraft (serialed 39-8, -9, and -10) on June 15, 2017. The first production-standard aircraft flew on August 26, 2019. After tests in Sweden it was shipped to Brazil in September 2020 to continue trials work. The first for Sweden—also for tests—flew on December 3, 2019.
Sweden has 60 JAS 39E single-seaters on contract, while Brazil has ordered 28 F-39E single-seaters. The first 13 are to be built and assembled in Sweden, with assembly taking place in Brazil for the next eight. The final seven—plus eight F-39F two-seaters—are to be produced entirely in Brazil. An industrial group led by Embraer leads the two-seater development program, with the first aircraft already in build.