Initial flight tests will be performed in Sweden, and by the end of 2020, the aircraft will continue the flight test campaign in Brazil. In 2021, deliveries to the Brazilian Air force will begin.
The ceremony was attended by Fernando Azevedo e Silva, Brazilian Minister for Defense; Lieutenant Brigadier Antonio Carlos Moretti Bermudez, Chief of the Brazilian Air Force; Nelson Antonio Tabajara de Oliveira, Ambassador of Brazil to Sweden; Lieutenant Brigadier Carlos Augusto Amaral Oliveira, Chief of Staff of the Brazilian Air Force; Peter Hultqvist, Swedish Minister for Defense; Major General Mats Helgesson, Commander of the Swedish Air Force; and representing Saab, Håkan Buskhe, President and CEO; and Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and head of Saab Aeronautics business area.
The partnership with Brazil started in 2014 with the $3.93 billion contract to develop and produce 36 Gripen E/F for the Brazilian Air Force, including related systems, support, and equipment. Saab has Brazilian partners in the Gripen program, which includes a comprehensive transfer of technology throughout approximately 10 years.
The Brazilian Gripen E/F aircraft are developed and produced with the participation of Brazilian technicians and engineers. This integration is part of the transfer of technology and aims to provide practical knowledge necessary for the execution of these same activities in Brazil. Starting in 2021, the complete aircraft assembly of 15 aircraft will begin in Brazil. Development of the two-seat Gripen F is progressing with extensive activities at Gripen Design and Development Network in Gavião Peixoto, Brazil. Gripen F deliveries are expected to start in 2023.
Five nations currently operate Gripen: Sweden, South Africa, Czech Republic, Hungary and Thailand. The UK Empire Test Pilots' School (ETPS) uses Gripen for test pilot training.