Brazil to acquire 34 additional Saab JAS-39 Gripen E/F fighter jets

On August 25, 2023, Brazil announced its intention to order an additional 34 JAS-39 Gripen E/F fighter aircraft, further expanding an already substantial acquisition. This decision stems from a series of events that began in 2014 when a tender resulted in the initial order of 36 JAS-39 Gripen E/F fighter aircraft from the Swedish manufacturer Saab. This contract also included significant technology transfers, with Embraer committed as a strategic partner for the assembly of 15 of these aircraft at its facility in Gavião Peixoto, São Paulo State.

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Brazil Plans to Acquire 34 Additional JAS 39 Gripen EF Fighter Aircraft 925 001Brazilian JAS-39 Gripen E multirole fighter (Picture source: SAAB )

In February 2022, General Carlos de Almeida Baptista Junior, who was then at the helm of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), expressed the need to acquire at least 30 additional aircraft to further bolster the capabilities of the Brazilian Air Force. He even mentioned the possibility of reaching a total of 80 aircraft by 2035. This FAB wish became a reality with the announcement of the "Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento" (PAC), a government growth acceleration program, on August 11. With a budget of 10 billion euros, this program foresees significant investments in the Brazilian armed forces. Its aims include equipping the armed forces with cutting-edge technology, strengthening national defense capabilities, and securing the nation's borders.

Among the PAC's projects are the construction of submarines and frigates, the acquisition of armored vehicles, light helicopters, nine C-390 Millennium transport aircraft, and the order of an additional 34 F-39 Gripen E/F fighter aircraft. Furthermore, there are plans to convert two Airbus A330 aircraft into aerial refueling tankers (MRTT).

The JAS-39 Gripen E/F is a versatile fighter aircraft originating from Sweden. The Gripen project's origins can be traced back to the Industrigruppen JAS, a collaboration between Swedish aerospace companies, and the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration (FMV). The project began to take shape in the late 1980s, with the prototype's first flight occurring on December 9, 1988. Its official introduction into service took place on June 9, 1996.

In 2023, the JAS-39 Gripen E/F remains in active service with several air forces around the world. The primary users include Sweden, where it was initially developed, as well as Brazil, South Africa, and Hungary.

The aircraft is equipped with a comprehensive electronic warfare suite, including jamming capabilities and countermeasures. It features a secure data-linking system that enables seamless communication and data sharing with other friendly aircraft and ground stations. The fighter is equipped with advanced sensor systems, including an Infrared Search and Track (IRST) system, enhancing its ability to detect and engage targets.

The Gripen E/F incorporates cutting-edge avionics, including a large touchscreen display known as the "Wide Area Display" (WAD), developed by the Brazilian company AEL Sistemas. This enhances pilot situational awareness and ease of operation.