Lula inaugurates assembly line for the Gripen, the new FAB fighter that begins production in Brazil

Saab and Embraer start assembling aircraft in Gavião Peixoto; contract provides for the purchase of 40 F-39 Gripen E/F aircraft, the most modern in operation in Latin America

the swedish fighter F-39 Gripen E/F begins to be produced in Brazil, at the Gavião Peixoto factory, in the interior of São Paulo, six months after entering into operation in the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). It is the most modern aircraft in operation in Latin America, which will equip the 1st Air Defense Group (1st GDA), located in Anápolis (GO). President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva inaugurates the assembly line this Tuesday, 9.

The renewal of FAB fighter aviation is one of the main strategic projects of the Ministry of Defense. Initially, it provided for the purchase and delivery by 2027 of 36 Gripen for US$ 3.77 billion, or R$ 20 billion in current values. Another four aircraft were included in the contract in 2022, totaling 40 fighters that will be produced by Saab in partnership with Embraer.

The FAB is also studying the acquisition of another 26 Gripen through a second contract. The development and purchase of the Gripen is one of the strategic projects of the Ministry of Defense taken to President Lula. The ministry has argued that, despite the country’s fiscal difficulties, it is necessary to ensure the flow of resources for the project to continue.

The last 15 units of the first batch of 36 fighters will be built in Brazil. The agreement for the purchase of the Gripen provides for the transfer of technology to Brazil and two-year training for 350 professionals who will take care of assembling the aircraft at the Embraer unit in Gavião Peixoto.

There, test pilots from the FAB, Embraer and Saab carried out flight tests, part of the technology transfer program, so that the fighters received the initial operating license, before they entered into operation at the Anápolis Air Base (Baan), where they were handed over to the 1st GDA.

The Gripen will gradually replace the American-made F-5M fighters. This model entered service in Brazil in 1975 and whose modernization, carried out by Embraer, ended in 2020. The new aircraft should receive short- and long-range air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles and bombs guided by laser or GPS for use against targets on land and sea. The load on external armaments can be up to 7 tons.


In Gavião Peixoto, the Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN) was built in 2016. It is, according to Saab, a “technology transfer hub considered the point of integration of companies, government parties and partners involved in the program, especially Embraer”. Currently, Brazilians and Swedes are developing the Gripen E and F models “in areas such as vehicle systems, aeronautical engineering, structural design, systems installation and integration, avionics, man-machine interface, weapons integration and communications”.

According to Saab, the GDDN is “securely connected to Saab in Sweden and industrial partners in Brazil”. It has simulators for the development of fighter jets in Brazil. This is where the so-called S-Rig, short for Systems-Rig, works, the first Gripen development simulator outside Sweden. This sector supports the activities of the Gripen Flight Test Center (GFTC) to prepare pilots before flight tests.

In 2018, Saab built a factory in São Bernardo do Campo, in the ABC region of São Paulo, where the tail cone, aerodynamic brakes, rear and front fuselage for the FAB Gripen E are produced. There is also a maintenance laboratory for highly complex electronic equipment. According to Saab, it will be in this unit that the maintenance of electronic warfare equipment and the Gripen’s AESA radar will be carried out.


Gripen started supersonic flight tests in Brazil in March 2021. All of them are done at high altitudes, above 5 thousand meters. The FAB currently operates four F-39 Gripen at the 1st GDA, in Anápolis. Later this month, another two aircraft will be delivered to the Air Force.

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