The merchant ship that carries the first Gripen E fighter of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) should arrive in Brazil by the end of the week, according to data from Marine Traffic. The vessel left the port of Norrkoping, Sweden, on the 29th of August bound for the port of Navegantes where it is expected to arrive on the 20th of September.
A picture of the fighter inside the ship was published on Twitter and shows the Saab aircraft attached to a support and with only protections on sensitive parts of the fuselage. Like the first prototype, the fighter displays the Brazilian flag on the vertical stabilizer, which must be removed later.
After being disembarked, the Gripen E will be taken by truck to Navegantes Airport where it will be prepared to fly, which should happen for the first time on September 25th. The aircraft is expected to proceed to the joint facilities of Saab and Embraer in Gaviao Peixoto, where it will continue its flight test program.
According to the FAB schedule, the first operational Gripen E will be delivered in 2021 and will be designated as the F-39E Gripen (and the two-seater model, F-39F). Brazil ordered 36 aircraft, 28 of which were single-seat and eight-seat models. The 1st Air Defense Group (1st GDA), based in Anápolis will be the first Brazilian squadron to fly with the new fighter jet.