Embraer Opens First Gripen Assembly Facility Outside Sweden

Credit: Tony Osborne/AWST

A second assembly facility for the Saab Gripen E fighter formally opened on May 9 at Embraer’s military aircraft manufacturing complex in Gaviao Peixoto, Brazil at a ceremony attended by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, fulfilling a commitment to produce 15 of the 36 fighters ordered by the Brazilian air force in the country. 

The opening of the production line establishes Gripen production in South America as neighboring countries consider buying new fighters and the Brazilian government begins initial discussions on a second batch of aircraft from Saab, with proposals for additional work scope to Embraer among the negotiating points.

“As a natural evolution of this relationship, we hope that soon we can together expand our business into new markets,” said Bosco da Costa Jr., president and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security. 

Saab has agreed to partner with Embraer to offer the C-390 Millennium to the Swedish air force to replace an aging fleet of Lockheed Martin C-130s and is open to producing more Gripens from the newly opened production site in Brazil outside of South America. 

“We want Brazil to become an export hub to Latin America and potentially other regions,” said Micael Johansson, president and CEO of Saab.

Embraer plans to start delivering F-39E fighters from Gaviao Peixoto starting in 2025. Meanwhile, Saab will continue delivering F-39Es and two-seat F-39F Gripens to the Brazilian air force from the first assembly facility in Linkoping, Sweden. Two more F-39Es arrived in Brazil on March 5. 

Saab also produces aerostructures for the Gripen at a plant near Sao Paulo and operates the Gripen Flight Test Center in Gaviao Peixoto and the Gripen Design and Development Network in Sao Jose dos Campos. 

Steve Trimble

Steve covers military aviation, missiles and space for the Aviation Week Network, based in Washington DC.