GDDN (Gripen Design and Development Network), the hub of all Gripen development in Brazil, will complete three years this month. Located at Embraer premises in Gavião Peixoto, the GDDN facility was founded by Saab and Embraer in November 2016, along with other Brazilian partners like AEL Sistemas, Atech, Akaer and the Brazilian Air Force.
The Gripen program is more than just an increase in operational capacity of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). It also represents a huge technological leap for the Brazilian defence industry through the extensive technology-transfer program that will allow supersonic fighters to be developed, produced and maintained in Brazil. Not only does GDDN develop and manufacture Gripen, but also builds simulators and proper infrastructure that are required for a smooth fighter development process.
The Transfer of Technology Programme started in October 2015 when more than 100 Brazilian engineers received theoretical and hands-on training in Sweden. Most of these engineers have returned to Brazil to work at GDDN.
The four stages that every engineer and employee under GDDN goes through are that of Theoretical training, Research & Technology programmes, On-the-job-training in Sweden, and Development and production work. It is the goal of GDDN to have more than 350 Brazilian specialists (engineers, technicians and assembly operators) trained in Sweden until the end of the Transfer of Technology Programme in 2024. The programme involves more than 60 offset projects and looks to develop, manufacture, and deliver 36 Gripen E to the FAB.
Besides Gripen E, GDDN is also responsible for the development of most of Gripen F's (twin-seat). In fact, the first Gripen F is being exclusively developed for the Brazilian Air Force by GDDN engineers with the support of Saab.
"GDDN is a legacy, an asset that stays for the Brazilian Air Force. I want to see the first Gripen flight here in Gavião Peixoto," says Santosh Miadaira Hamza, Gripen programme manager at Embraer.
Currently, GDDN has more than 120 engineers working on the Gripen development program in Brazil.
In future GDDN will also have a Flight Testing Centre with state-of-the-art equipment.