In a major shake up of its aircraft buying plans, the Brazilian air force plans to nearly double its order of Saab Gripen fighter jets, while its Embraer’s airlifter order may be reduced to up to only 13 combat support aircraft.
The Brazilian Air Force should have a maximum of 16 KC-390 aircraft in operation in the coming years, said Brigadier Carlos de Almeida Baptista Jr, its new commander, to the newspaper Valor Economico.
The original order for the new airlifter produced by Embraer foresaw 28 aircraft, four of which have already been delivered until last year. However, Baptista Jr explained that the budget cuts in the Force forced a review of the agreement.
Despite the determination to cut costs, the new commander expressed a desire to order a second batch of Saab Gripen E/F fighters.
We bought the first batch, but our expectation is that it will be something around 60 or 70 aircraft. This agreement includes 36. Soon, it will be time to start talking about a second batch. A country the size of Brazil cannot count with just 36 fighter planes, said Baptista Jr.
Brazil has officially begun manufacturing fighter jets with the start of production at a new facility that makes sections of the Saab Gripen, Swedish aerospace company Saab announced.
Saab Aeronáutica Montagens, a new manufacturing plant located near Sao Paulo, has begun producing Gripen E/F aerostructures, including the tail cone and front fuselage for the single-seat Gripen E version of the jet.
It will eventually also make the brakes, rear fuselage, wing box and front fuselage for the two-seater “F” model, Saab informed the press.
Those structures will then undergo final assembly at Embraer’s nearby plant in Sao Paulo and Saab’s main Gripen production hub in Linköping, Sweden.
Saab won a contract with Brazil in 2014 for 36 Gripen E/F aircraft after a hard-fought competition that included Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Dassault Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon. Technology transfer was a major requirement for all proposals.
In 2018, Saab unveiled the Brazilian aerostructures facility, which will eventually accommodate up to 200 employees in 2024. The parts produced there will be used to manufacture Gripen’s that will be delivered to the Brazilian Air Force.
Defense News / ABC Flash-Point Blog-Spot 2021.