It was 9h41 am in Brazil and people were starting their week having breakfast, arriving at the office, or even stuck on traffic. One could think that it was just another uneventful Monday morning, but that was not the case. More than 10.000 kilometres across the ocean, in Sweden, the first Brazilian Gripen took off from Linköping's airfield, 2h41 pm, Swedish time. The maiden flight of Brazil's first Gripen E had the purpose of verifying basic handling and flight qualities at different altitudes and speeds.
Brazil's undaunted fighter departed from Saab's airfield in Linköping, Sweden, led by Saab's test pilot, the Commander Richard Ljungberg. The mission was to assess whether the aircraft behaved similarly to the previous Gripen E as expected, despite the systems having a different design. After a flight that lasted for 65 minutes, the aircraft landed and Ljungberg confirmed that it was a "very smooth flight", also saying that as a pilot, he "was very pleased for having been the pilot for this maiden flight. The aircraft behaved exactly as was experienced in the simulator and on the platforms. I look forward to flying it again and testing the new systems", he said.
This first flight was a milestone for fighter aviation in Brazil and an important moment for Saab's business. It consolidates the Gripen programme, which is in full development according to schedule, strengthening the national defense industry. For the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), Gripen E will receive registration number 4100, and will begin a new chapter in the country's aviation history.
One of the main innovations, when comparing this aircraft with the previous Gripen models is the new display, redesigned by AEL Sistemas. The Brazilian company developed the Wide Area Display (WAD), Head-Up Display (HUD), and Helmet. Mounted Display (HMD).
The Gripen Programme has been making incredible progress during its development and production phases. "Brazilian partner companies are adding tangible and intangible value to the entire technology transfer process and the development of innovation for Brazil's new Gripen fighters," said Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Area Saab Aeronautics.