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In an interview with the DefesaNet, Mikael Franzén, Director and head of Business Unit Gripen Brazil, Saab, throws light on the Gripen E/F (called NG in Brazil) project so far and plans for the future.

 “The most important thing that took place this year was the first flight of the 39-8 aircraft, and it was very successful,” he says.

Other than that, the next big achievement was the development of the Wide Area Display (WAD) for Gripen. WAD will have the basic display software by AEL and tactical software by Saab.

About the next main goals, he says that Saab is currently building a test aircraft which is aimed to fly in 2019. "In the meantime, we will perform tests on various subsystems for the fighter jets – it’s going to be a very intense test period. We are also going to work on furthering the development of the tactical system for the aircraft, as well as the two-seat version, which is still in its early stages," he says. 

Post the first test flight, Saab has been in a phase of experimenting with speed and altitudes, various external loads etc.

Development work for the new cockpit is also set to start soon.

Read the full interview here.

Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President, Saab, gives an update about Brazil Gripen programme and transfer of technology.​

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Brazilian company AEL Sistemas exhibited the Gripen cockpit's Wide Area Display (WAD) at the recently held International Seminar of Defense (SEMINDE) in Brazil.

"Participating in SEMINDE is an opportunity to demonstrate the technological capabilities developed in the defense and technology center of the south of the country," said Sergio Horta, president of AEL Sistemas.

WAD is a multi-purpose display system with full-colour, large-screen (19 x 8 in) with continuous image presentation and the state-of-the-art touch-screen controls capability. AEL Sistemas was contracted to develop WAD and the head-up display (HUD) for Gripen in 2015. This year, the Brazilian company launched the first prototype panel of WAD.

Besides WAD, AEL Sistemas also displayed the advanced helmet mounted display (HMD) system, called Targo at the seminar.

Read the full story here.

​What is it like to fly faster than  sound? Listen to one of our test pilots as he describes breaking the sound barrier in Gripen E.​

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A Brazilian delegation headed by Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade (MDIC) recently paid a visit to the Gripen plant in Linköping to see the first Gripen E.

MDIC executive secretary, Marcos Jorge de Lima met Saab officials and talked about the aero structure plant, Saab Aeronautica Montagens (SAM), which will start operations in São Bernardo do Campo, in Greater São Paulo.

"We need to remember that technology is one of the great engines of industrial development and projects of this nature help develop the aeronautics sector as a whole. Even smaller companies can participate in the global supply chain of components," Marcos said.

SAM's operations should start in 2019 post the selection of property preparations for infrastructure. The facility will not just manage supply chains but also produce subassemblies for both the production line in Sweden and in Brazil, such as the wings, and front and rear fuselage of Gripen.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Brazil MDIC

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Saab has appointed Marcelo Lima as the General Director for Saab Aeronautics Assemblies (SAM), the Brazilian plant which will provide the aerostructure components for Gripen E/F.

SAM will be located in São Bernardo do Campo, the metropolitan region of São Paulo. Gripen parts like aerodynamic brakes, wings, front fuselage (both single-seat and double-seat versions) and rear fuselage will be produced at this plant.

"Marcelo Lima is a very experienced professional with deep knowledge of projects similar to SAM. He will add local and international knowledge into this project, which is fundamental to the Gripen program, "says Mikael Franzén, head of Business Unit, Gripen Brazil.

Most of the SAM staff will be sent to the Saab facility in Linköping, Sweden for training, post which they will start working on their projects in Brazil. All this comes under the transfer of technology aspect of the Gripen Brazil programme.

The transfer of technology process started in 2015 with 46 employees from Embraer and two from AEL Sistemas landing in Sweden for training. A year later, the Gripen Project Development Center (GDDN), was inaugurated in Gavião Peixoto, São Paulo.

Read the full story here.

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AEL Sistemas has launched the first panoramic panel of the Gripen fighter, reports Airway.com​.

"We are proud to deliver the prototype panel on schedule, helping Saab engineers to move forward with the integration work on the aircraft," says Sérgio Horta, president of AEL.

Saab selected AEL Sistemas (AEL) as a supplier in Brazil two years back for providing wide area display (WAD) and the head-up display (HUD). Both the WAD and HUD development programmes started in January 2015.

The WAD for Brazil’s Gripen NG aircraft is a single intelligent and full-redundant multi-purpose display system, full-colour, large-screen (19 x 8 in) with continuous image presentation and the state-of-the-art touch-screen controls capability. It is the primary source of all flight and mission information in the cockpit.

Saab and AEl Sistemas have also signed a contract for transfer of technology that focuses on developing human-machine interface (HMI) and workshops for avionics maintenance.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: AEL Sistemas

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One of the major deciding factors behind Brazil's selection of Gripen was Saab's technology transfer offer, says Vianney Goncalves Jr in an opinion piece in Aviation Week.

Even more decisive than the winning aircraft's lowest operational cost was its level of technology transfer. A major criterion for Brazilian engineers was the Swedish proposal for participation in the development of the two-seater version, he says. In addition to the transfer of know-how, Brazil also took the opportunity to reorganize its force structure.

The opinion piece dwells on the importance of the development of Gripen F and its potential role as a special sensor node for network centric warfare. Goncalves also discusses the wide-area display and the Link-BR2 datalink system developed in Brazil.

Read his opinion piece here.


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At 10:32 on 15 June 2017, Gripen E took off on its maiden flight, flown by a Saab test pilot. The aircraft (designation 39-8) left from Saab’s airfield in Linköping, Sweden and flew over the eastern parts of Östergötland for 40 minutes. During the flight, the aircraft carried out a number of actions to demonstrate various test criteria including the retracting and extending of the landing gear.

“The flight was just as expected, with the aircraft performance matching the experience in our simulations. Its acceleration performance is impressive with smooth handling. Needless to say, I’m very happy to have piloted this maiden flight,” says Marcus Wandt, Experimental Test Pilot, Saab.

Read more here.

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The transfer of technology through cooperation with Saab is extremely significant for increasing the technological competence of Brazilian industry," says Jackson Schneider, President and CEO of Embraer Defence and Security.

"Embraer and the other companies committed to this programme will benefit from the transfer of knowledge," he says. "It will make it possible for them to carry out future upgrades to the Gripen fleet and to compete in the market for coming generations of fighters."

Embraer has always been an important partner of Saab in Brazil’s Gripen programme. The opening of GDDN was a key milestone in the Gripen technology transfer programme. The GDDN is located at Embraer premises in Gavião Peixoto in the state of São Paulo. According to Schneider, GDDN can be described as a project work station with professionals mainly from Embraer and Saab, but also from other Brazilian industry partners and the Brazilian customer.

"We can use the Gripen Design and Development Network for future joint projects, such as an export version of the two-seater Gripen. We are also discussing potential additional cooperation outside the Gripen programme."

Schneider considers the project a first-class opportunity for both Embraer and Saab to exchange knowledge."Both companies are very experienced in the aeronautical market and this is a great opportunity to improve our expertise in the development and manufacturing process of a high -standard modern combat aircraft," he says.​

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