Created in 1941 during World War II, the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) operated P-47, Gloster Meteor, and Dassault Mirage III and 2000 fighters, among others, but it never reached a level of state-of-the-art technology like what is about to happen in the next years.
The entry into service of the Saab Gripen E fighters from 2022 will give the South American nation an unprecedented air defense capability and will not only be due to the power of the Swedish aircraft, equipped with technologies such as the AESA-type radar or the WAD instrument panel.
Along with the 36 fighters, FAB is also providing armaments that will make the Gripen a jet feared for its immense firepower.
In recent days, the Air Force has taken new steps in the acquisition of the Meteor and Iris-T air-to-air missiles, which will make up the aircraft’s defense arsenal.
The Meteor, for example, is a medium-range missile provided by MBDA and has ramjet propulsion as one of its differentials. The missile is able to maintain a high velocity during its trajectory, unlike rivals like the US AMRAAM, which uses a conventional rocket.
Measuring 3.7 meters in length and 190 kg, the Meteor has a maximum range of 200 km or 60 km in the so-called “No-Escape Zone”.
The Air Force received the second batch from MBDA recently, after acquiring a small quantity of missiles for the development of the Brazilian Gripen.
BVR (Beyond-Visual-Range) missile, the Meteor is much more efficient than the Derby, acquired from Rafael by the FAB in 2006 to equip the F-5 Tiger II and which were the first of its kind used in Brazil.
On December 21, the Air Force signed a contract with Diehl Defense for the supply of the short-range infrared Iris-T missile.
The Iris-T will complement the Meteor as an alternative for targets located up to 30 km away and has vectored thrust, which increases its maneuverability.
After firing the missile, the F-39 pilot will be able to follow its trajectory projected on his helmet. The Iris-T is considered one of the most advanced infrared-guided air-to-air missiles as it is quite resistant to electronic countermeasures.
The first series production F-39E Gripen were delivered by Saab weeks ago and will be shipped to Brazil in early 2022.