Saab Aeronáutica Montagens SAM - The new Gripen aerostructure plant

The programme for Gripen continues to evolve. São Bernardo do Campo, in Greater São Paulo, will be home to Saab Aeronáutica Montagens (SAM), Saab's new aerostructure plant. It will produce fuselages for the single-seat and twin-seat versions of the Brazilian Air Force jet fighter so as to move innovation forward in Brazil.

"SAM will broaden business horizons and, while it initially serves Gripen jet fighter orders for the Brazilian Air Force, it will soon be able to export worldwide."
Marcelo Lima, General Director of SAM


With a population of over 820,000 people, São Bernardo do Campo has a strong industrial tradition and is strategically located in terms of logistics for large companies with its easy access to ports, airports and highways. As of 2018, SAM will begin setting up to produce Gripen aerostructures in this region. This is yet another major concrete step in the partnership between Saab and Brazil.

The plant will make tail cones, aerodynamic brakes, wingboxes, front fuselage (both single-seat versions and double-seat versions) and the rear fuselage of Gripen fighters for FAB. "Establishing the production of Gripen jet fighters in Brazil to support the continuity of the programme is part of our commitment, as well as creating new jobs and supporting the development of the local defence industry," explains Mikael Franzén, head of the Gripen Brazil business unit at Saab.

When a plant of this size is built in the country, it makes a huge difference not only to the industry, but also to the city that it sets up in. The factory is modern, dedicated to the production of high-performance aerostructures, serving the global aeronautical market in the long term. Being associated with the quality of its production and workforce ennobles a region and can attract even more business. "In the first two years of the Gripen project, we concentrated our efforts on the development of the aircraft and the beginning of the technology transfer programme. Following the plan, we are now establishing production in Brazil to support the continuity of the Gripen programme in the country," says Franzén.

Initially, the aerostructure plant will have 55 direct employees, including highly qualified engineers and technicians. After the selection process, more than half will be trained at the Saab facility in Linköping, Sweden. These professionals will have a fantastic learning experience that may last from 12 to 24 months. When they return to Brazil they will be able to transmit all this knowledge to direct and indirect employees in the future.

The plant will be managed by Marcelo Lima, a Brazilian engineer with 24 years of experience in manufacturing management in the automotive, energy and major appliances sectors. "The Gripen programme is a watershed for the Brazilian defence sector. It is my honour to be part of a project that is so important for Brazilian industry. SAM can broaden business horizons and, while it initially serves Gripen jet fighter orders for the Brazilian Air Force, it will soon be able to export worldwide. In addition, the plant manufactures complex fuselage structures for the commercial aviation industry, meaning that innovation and technology thrive and expand," explains Marcelo.