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Embraer and Saab Join Forces at LAAD 2023, Paving the Way for a Stronger Future Partnership

At LAAD 2023, the defense and security exhibition held in Rio de Janeiro from April 11th to 14th, Bosco da Costa Junior, the newly appointed President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security, and Micael Johansson, President and CEO of Saab, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will have both short-term and long-term implications for their collaboration.

The Swedish and Brazilian aerospace companies initiated their cooperation back in 1997 during the early stages of the Brazilian fighter bid, where the Gripen was proposed. Despite delays, the final proposal featuring the E/F model emerged victorious, and the Brazilian Air Force is currently receiving deliveries with final assembly taking place at Embraer’s Gavião Peixoto facilities. This facility not only serves as an assembly line but is also part of the Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN) and the Gripen Flight Test Center (GFTC), where flight data is analyzed in real-time in Brazil and Sweden.

Looking ahead, there is potential for new contracts to materialize in Latin America. Brazil may consider a second tranche of Gripens, potentially equal in number to the first batch. Additionally, countries like Colombia and Peru are exploring the acquisition of new fighters. In this context, the Gavião Peixoto facility could play a crucial role in meeting these requirements, potentially increasing the level of Brazilian content in aircraft manufacturing. It is worth noting that Brazil is currently the only customer for the Gripen F, indicating that activities related to the two-seater version of the Gripen E will mainly take place in Brazil. The possibility of developing specialized versions of the fighter from the two-seater variant remains to be seen.

On the other hand, Saab will act as a facilitator for introducing Embraer’s C-390 Millennium transport aircraft in Europe, starting with Sweden, where the Air Force is considering the acquisition of a new air transport capability. The collaboration between the two companies could also lead to the development of new configurations.

Looking further into the future, the MoU signed at LAAD aims to encompass activities focused on the development of new technologies. These technologies could be integrated into the Gripen E/F, whose lifespan is expected to extend beyond 2060. Such technologies, along with others, would also be part of future fighter studies. The Swedish Air Force recently signed a contract with Saab for a concept study, indicating that Sweden, at least for now, is not interested in joining one of the ongoing 6th generation systems initiatives in Europe.

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