What Does it Mean to be a Gripen Country?

Over the years, the Brazilian Gripen programme has strengthened the ties between Sweden and Brazil. Along with its Brazilian partners, Saab is creating capabilities for the development, production, and maintenance of the most advanced multi-mission fighter in the world, in Brazil.

For Brazil, the partnership with Saab has also meant an effective Transfer of Technology (ToT), new employment opportunities, and an overall development of its defence industry. The first two seasons of the True Collaboration web series talked extensively about the technology transfer involved and the role of Brazilian partners such as Embraer, Akaer, and SAM, among others, in the Brazilian Gripen programme. In the latest season of the True Collaboration, we will be looking at the role played by the new Gripen fighters and the long-term impact they will have on Brazil’s defence and manufacturing industry.

For a country with vast continental dimensions and high operational needs like Brazil, Gripen is the right fighter for securing the nation’s sovereignty and being in control of its airspace. The fighter meets all the requirements related to performance, range, autonomy and more, which will allow the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) to defend 22 million square kilometres under Brazilian jurisdiction.

True transfer of technology

An indispensable part of the technology transfer programme is the theoretical and practical on-the-job training of the Brazilian engineers and assemblers at Saab facilities in Linköping, Sweden. The training programmes vary between 12 to 24 months, and upon returning to Brazil, they pass on all the acquired knowledge to their colleagues in Brazil. To support this, Saab established its first aerostructures plant outside of Sweden in Brazil in 2018.

Saab’s aerostructures plant in Brazil recently started the first phase of the Gripen production, led by the employees who participated in the ToT programme in Sweden. The plant will begin with the production of Gripen E’s tail cone and front fuselage, which will then be delivered to Embraer plant in Gavião Peixoto (São Paulo State, Brazil) and Linköping in Sweden for final assembly of the new fighters. Going forward, the trained staff at the Brazilian plant will also ultimately be in charge of the production of Gripen E/F’s aerodynamic brakes, rear fuselage, wing box and front fuselage.

The True Collaboration series demonstrates how Saab’s industrial cooperation model and Transfer of Technology has the potential to transform the long-term capabilities of a nation operating Gripen. It shows that choosing a fighter is not just choosing a country’s defence for the next 30 to 40 years. It is also choosing to define and shape the country’s manufacturing capability and aeronautical know-how for a long time to come.

Saab’s commitment to set up a complete aeronautical ecosystem in India will provide know-why and know-how in a much deeper and broader sense, thereby enhancing the competitive strength of Indian industry and its ability to be successful at home and abroad. It will also create several new job opportunities and support the development of the local defence industry.