Some seven months after Brazil’s selection of the Saab Gripen NG in December 2013 to fulfill the country’s F-X2 new fighter requirement, Embraer and Saab announced on Friday a memorandum of understanding to partner in delivering the program for the Brazilian air force.
Under the terms of the MoU Embraer (Chalet A25) is to undertake a number of important roles in the F-X2 program. As well as its own work packages, Embraer will co-ordinate all development and production activities in Brazil, as well as participate in system development and integration, flight tests, final assembly and delivery. The agreement would also allow Brazil’s Gripen fleet to be fully supported locally, and opens the source codes necessary for local integration of weapons and other systems.
For Saab (Chalet C33-35) the agreement represents an opportunity to gain a heavyweight partner in the development of the Gripen, notably the two-seat Gripen F for which the Swedish air force has no current requirement. Embraer and Saab will be jointly responsible for the development of this version. The two companies are also discussing joint opportunities for promotion and marketing of the Gripen NG family.
Contract negotiations have yet to be finalized for the F-X2 Gripen deal, but they are expected to conclude around the end of this year. Brazil has a nominal requirement for 36 Gripen NGs, comprising 24 to 28 single-seat Gripen Es and eight to 12 two-seaters, although that overall figure could rise. The initial requirement calls for service-entry in 2018.
In the interim Brazil is expected to lease 10 JAS 39C/D Gripens, including six to be in service by 2016 to provide air cover during the Olympic Games. Brazilian pilots are scheduled to begin training in Sweden next year in advance of this leasing arrangement.