Saab is on its way to completing the first Gripen E fighter for the Brazilian Air Force. An image of the plane on the assembly line was released by the Swedish manufacturer last week.
According to Saab, the test aircraft entered stage 2 of the final assembly, which includes the installation of avionics, auxiliary power unit (APU), engine, radar, canards, canopy and windshield.
The next step, called Stage 3, consists of checking the aircraft, uploading software and testing the systems. There is, however, no time limit for this to occur.
Apart from that, Saab plans to deliver the first test plane in 2019. Then the Brazilian pilots will be able to evaluate the aircraft already aiming at the preparation for the delivery of the first series production fighters, starting in 2021.
F-5 Tiger II replacement
After a long process of competition, Brazil selected the Swedish fighter, which defeated Dassault Rafale and the Boeing F/A-18, among others. The FAB (Brazilian Air Force) will receive a total of 36 fighters, 28 Gripen E (single seat) and eight Gripen F (twin-seat) that will be assembled by Embraer in Brazil. Saab’s fighter will replace the old F-5 Tiger II now in use and the already retired Mirage 2000.