Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and head of the business area Aeronautics and Mikael Franzén, Head of the Gripen Brazil Business Unit, spoke about Saab's role in the global defence market and the progress of the Brazilian Gripen Program.
"This is another important step for us in the Gripen Brazil programme to, together with our partners, deliver what we promised to the Brazilian Air Force and the Brazilian society," said Jonas Hjelm.
"It was a major milestone to finally be able to show the facilities were the Saab Aeronáutica Montagens factory will be. We are now in the phase to produce the tooling and platforms required to build the sub-assemblies for Gripen E and F in Brazil," Mikael Franzén completed.
During his presentation, Franzén called to the stage the president and CEO of Akaer, Cesar Augusto T. Andrade e Silva, to formalize Akaer's share participation in SAM and further strengthen this solid long-term partnership. Akaer acquired 10% of SAM, and Saab increased its shares in Akaer from 25% to 28% in a stock swap operation.
"Saab and Akaer have been partners since 2009. We have been contracted by Saab to develop parts to the fuselage of the Gripen fighter, even before Saab was down-selected for negotiations to re-equip the Brazilian Air Force. Since then, Akaer delivered over 550.000 engineering hours in the Gripen project, both in Brazil and in Sweden, with a significant transfer of technology. Akaer moves forward now to consolidate itself as a Tier 1 company", said Andrade e Silva.
The general manager of SAM, Marcelo Lima, presented the aerostructures that will be produced in SAM, which are the tail cone, aerodynamic brakes, wing box, front fuselage for the single-seat and two-seat versions and the rear fuselage for the single-seat version of the aircraft. He also explained about the stages of hiring employees, training and qualification in Sweden and the preparations for the plant to be operational in 2020.
To have the Gripen full-scale replica inside the facility made a great impact on the audience, giving them a deeper perspective on the importance and grandiosity of a supersonic aircraft development in Brazil. The guests were excited about the opportunity of taking pictures inside the cockpit.
The guests were able to walk through the 5,000m² hangar and, among other things, learn about the history of the Gripen Program and the Brazilian partners, such as Embraer, Akaer and AEL Sistemas. In a separate area of the facility, attendees had the opportunity to take a 3D virtual tour inside Gripen's future aerostructures plant in Brazil.
Saab also highlighted relevant figures of the technology transfer programme and stressed the importance of SAM as part of Saab's global supply chain. Currently, more than 140 professionals have returned to Brazil. Most of them are working on aircraft development in the Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN). In total, 350 Brazilian professionals will go through the on-the-job training in Sweden.