Saab Aeronáutica Montagens (SAM), Saab’s first aerostructures plant outside of Sweden for the new Gripen E/F fighter, reaches another important milestone with the start of production today. This site builds sections of Gripen, which will then be delivered to the final assembly facilities at the Embraer plant in Gavião Peixoto, São Paulo, Brazil and to Linköping, Sweden, a July 7 Saab statement said
In 2014, Saab signed a contract with Brazilian government for the development and production of 36 Gripen E/F aircraft. In September last year, the first Brazilian Gripen E aircraft was delivered to start the flight test programme. Now, another milestone is reached, as Gripen production starts at the SAM plant, which is located in São Bernardo do Campo, a city in the metropolitan area of São Paulo in Brazil.
The tail cone and front fuselage of the single-seat version of the Gripen fighter are the first aerostructures to enter into production at SAM. Subsequently, the aerodynamic brakes, rear fuselage, wing box and front fuselage for the two-seater version will also be manufactured at SAM.
“This is another outcome of the Transfer of Technology (ToT) of the Gripen programme. Based on theoretical and practical on-the-job training of Brazilian engineers and assemblers at Saab in Linköping, we were able to establish a highly qualified production line at SAM, following the same standards that we have in our factory in Sweden,” said Jonas Hjelm, head of Saab’s business area Aeronautics.
Currently, SAM has more than 70 highly qualified employees, half of whom are participating or have already participated in the ToT Programme in Sweden. Part of these employees have already completed the training and returned to initiate the production in Brazil.
Brazil has a requirement for up to 108 Gripens to be delivered in three batches. Like Brazil, Thailand have acquired the Gripen to replace their fleet of ageing F-5E fighter jets. It was reported that Thailand might order more Gripens, up to 28 units, to add to their existing fleet of 12 aircraft. South Africa, Czech Republic and Hungary also operates Gripens. –shp/mgm