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First Brazilian Saab Gripen E Arrives in Brazil

The first Brazilian Saab Gripen E single-seat fighter aircraft has arrived in Brazil on Sunday, September 20, Saab announced.

The aircraft arrived through sea after been shipped from Norrköping in Sweden.

The first Brazilian Gripen is a test aircraft (39-6001, tail number FAB4100) and has been flying in Sweden since its maiden flight on August 26, 2019. In September that year, the aircraft arrived to start the flight test programme for flight envelope expansion as well as testing of tactical system and sensors.

Brazil has ordered 28 Gripen E single-seat jets that will be delivered to Brazil starting from 2021 and eight Gripen F twin-seat jets, starting from 2023. Saab is to building first 13 aircraft at its facility in Linköping, Sweden, while the remaining 23 will be built in Brazil.

Earlier this year, Saab  performed the fist metal cut for the first Brazilian Gripen F, marking an important milestone in the program. The first part was manufactured recently at Saab’s facilities in Linköping, Sweden and is for the air duct section, just behind the cockpit of the aircraft.

Saab Aeronáutica Montagens (SAM) in Brazil, Saab’s first aerostructures plant outside of Sweden for the Gripen E/F, has recently announced the start of production in support of the program. 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.

The tail cone and front fuselage of the single-seat version of the Gripen fighter (Gripen E) 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.

Gripen fighter aircraft for Croatia

On 9 September 2020, the Swedish government sent its proposal for twelve new Saab JAS39C and JAS39D Gripen fighter aircraft to Croatia. The Swedish embassy in Croatia and the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) handed over the government-to-government proposal.

The Hrvatske Zračne Snage (Croatian Air Force) is looking to replace its long plagued MiG-21 fleet. Initially, Croatia purchased an upgrade for its MiG-21s plus some additional MiG-21bis from UkrSpetsExport and Odesaviaremservice in Odessa (Ukraine), but, some time after delivery, Croatia found that four of the five aircraft had falsified documents and parts installed.

These four aircraft were declared unreliable and unsafe to operate and were withdrawn from use. Now only four MiG-21bis and four MiG-21UM two-seaters remain airworthy. The Minister of Defence announced the MiG-21 fleet will be obsolete in 2023/2024 because of the remaining flight hours and available spare parts dwindling.In 2018, Croatia decided to opt for twelve F-16 Barak aircraft from Israel over the quotation from the USA. The deal was blocked by the United States, as the US government has an end-user-agreement for the Israeli F-16s and they must approve the sale of any of its aircraft that are up for sale to a third party.

Israel requested such an approval, but this request was denied.Croatian media reported that a new Request for Proposal (RFP) was sent to seven countries: USA for new F-16s, Sweden for new Gripens, Greece/Israel/Norway for secondhand F-16s, Italy for used EF2000s and France for used Rafales.

The deadline for sending in bids was 7 May 2020. A decision was expected around August and the contract was to be signed before the end of this year. But this will likely be delayed because of COVID-19.Sweden has submitted an official proposal and officially announced the offer also includes a custom made strategic cooperation package, which would boost the Croatian defence industry, and benefit Croatian security by building a long-term partnership with strategic sectors. It is not known if the other countries have submitted their bids to Croatia or if Sweden is the only country that made a proposal.

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