Brazil and Sweden: Gripen Programme further tightens cooperation between the countries

The High Level Group in Aeronautics has annual meetings to deepen bilateral cooperation between Brazil and Sweden. Discussions have greatly strengthened since the signing of the contract for the acquisition of 36 Saab Gripen E/F fighters for the Brazilian Air Force.

Brazil and Sweden have a long-lasting partnership since the 20th century but the strategic partnership between the two Governments began in 1984 with the Agreement on Economic, Industrial and Technological Cooperation, followed by the Additional Protocol for Cooperation in Highly Innovative Industrial Technology in 2009, and the Strategic Partnership New Action Plan in 2015.

The Gripen contract (2014) strengthened this bilateral industrial and technological partnership, as the two countries recognised the potential for expanding cooperation in the aeronautics field, and expressed their commitment to identify new initiatives of mutual interest through the High Level Group (HLG) in Aeronautics, created in 2015.

Through the concept of Triple Helix, in which Government, Industry and Academia come together for Research and Development (R&D), the representatives of both countries meet annually to outline the strategic direction of the cooperation.

"The High Level Group in Aeronautics can be seen as a direct result of the Gripen agreement and the cooperation covers a wide field of research and development areas, offering possibilities for spinoffs not only in military projects, but also in civilian and dual-use projects," states Magnus Ahlström, Vice President of Saab Global Innovation.

In 2018, a bilateral Air Domain Study Working Group (ADS WG) was appointed to outline the scope and content of future technologies of joint interests. The study covers both military and civil needs, with a focus on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Several projects related to the Human Factors area are included and executed in the Human Factors Laboratory (HUFLAB), in addition to other activities defined between the two Air Forces.

The main objective of the HUFLAB is technological development of interfaces between the pilot and aircraft for future air combat systems. One of the expected outcome is the usage of augmented/virtual reality tools (AR/VR tools) to alleviate the pilot workload in critical situations.

In the 5th HLG meeting, which took place in Stockholm in November 2019, an Implementing Arrangement about the HUFLAB was signed between the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) and the Department of Science and Aerospace Technology (DCTA) of the Brazilian Air Force.

The High Level Group in Aeronautics is composed of government representatives, such as State secretaries or Vice ministers for the respective Ministries responsible for Industry, Innovation, Defence and Foreign Affairs; as well representatives from both countries in the following areas:

R&D funding agencies; aeronautics companies; industry organizations; Air force chiefs and/or representatives of Defence Material Administration; and the academia.