Brazil Seeks More Gripens as Saab/Embraer Strengthen Ties

 - April 17, 2023, 7:12 AM
The first example of the Gripen F two-seater is in the final assembly hall at Gavião Peixoto. (Photo: Saab)

Brazil is currently evaluating the acquisition for more Gripen multi-role fighters to add to the 36 it ordered in 2014. Although defense minister Jose Mucio did not talk about numbers when speaking at the recent Latin American Aerospace and Defence show held in Rio de Janeiro, it is understood that four additional aircraft are to be added to the current batch, with a second batch of 26 or 30 to be ordered subsequently.

The country's defense forces are in the process of receiving aircraft, with the delivery of the first batch due to be completed in 2027. In the meantime, Embraer is leading development of the Gripen F two-seat version, the first example of which is being assembled at the company’s facility at Gavião Peixoto.

During the LAAD show Embraer and Saab announced a memorandum of understanding covering greater collaboration, building on the industrial partnership created by the Gripen program. As well as exploring further opportunities for the Gripen in Latin America, the two companies will partner on continued development to enable the Gripen to remain relevant until the 2060 timeframe, as well as examine future fighter needs.

More immediately, Saab and Embraer will collaborate on positioning the Embraer C-290 Millennium tanker/transport as the preferred solution to the Swedish air force’s requirement to replace the aging C-130 Hercules fleet. They will also explore the integration of Saab systems into the C-390.

Separately, Embraer announced the launch of a new version of the A-29 Super Tucano at the LAAD show. The A-29N is a fully NATO-compatible aircraft with new datalink and the ability to be flown by a single-pilot, among other modifications. It can be used for advanced and weapons training, and light strike/armed surveillance missions. Among the new capabilities added is the ability to perform joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) training. Among the opportunities that Embraer sees for the A-29N is the Portuguese air force’s requirements for an advanced trainer/light attacker.