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Brazilian Air Force pilots begin conversion training on Saab Gripen in Sweden


The year 2020 was unforgettable for the Brazilian Gripen Programme, but this year has started in full swing also. In January 2021, the first group of pilots from the First Air Defense Group, also known as the Jaguar Squadron, began the operational training on the Gripen fighter, at Wing F7 of the Swedish Air Force base in Såtenäs, Sweden. The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) chose this selected group of pilots to take the course, based on their flight experience and their operational performance.

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Brazilian Air Force pilots begin conversion training on Saab Gripen in Sweden 1 Brazilian Saab Gripen (Picture source: Brazilian Air Force via Saab)


“In this initial phase, only professionals with experience in the F-5M or A-1M, which are our current fighters, were chosen. We also looked for the individuals who had the best grades in the air activities, bearing in mind their overall performance since the Air Force Academy, including the theoretical and flight test scores, “explained Lt. Brig. Luiz Fernando de Aguiar, Commander of Preparation (COMPREP).

FAB offered an extensive language course in English for the selected pilots before the training in Sweden. They also paid special attention to their physical fitness, since Gripen is a 9G class aircraft, which increases the demand for strength and muscle endurance of its pilots. All of this pre-preparation resonated with positive feedback from the Swedish Air Force instructors.

In Sweden, the first group of pilots underwent a series of exercises that included learning how to deal with the lack of oxygen, water survival training as well as an intense training in the 9G centrifuge at the Qinetics Physiological Flight Center, located in Malmslätt, Linköping. Only after having passed this stage did the pilots start their first theoretical classes with the Gripen C/D at Wing F7, where simulator training, familiarization flights in the rear nacelle and solo flights took place.

Collaboration, the hallmark of the Gripen Programme, also stood out with the integration of the two Air Forces - capable of even helping to overcome the icy Swedish winter.

“In addition to personal satisfaction and motivation, we are extremely proud to be part of this programme and this remarkable moment for the Brazilian Air Force. We hope that, with the knowledge acquired here, we will be able to assist in the implementation and operation of the F-39 Gripen at the FAB in the coming years, “said Major Aviator Vítor Cabral Bombonato, a member of the first group of pilots being trained in Sweden.

After completing the training with the Gripen C/D, the pilots will return to Brazil to continue the preparations for receiving the E/F version of the fighter. This includes improving the doctrine applied to the squadrons and producing new manuals and procedures. At the same time, continuous training will be conducted in the new flight simulator at Wing 2, in Anápolis (GO). COMPREP, which coordinates the formulation of the aerospace doctrine, closely monitors this entire process.

“An important work that we carry out is the revision of our doctrinal concepts, in order to expand the horizons and to create an environment conducive to new strategies, tactics and techniques. To this end, we selected and trained professionals from different areas to operate the flight simulators, the mission planning stations, the electronic warfare programming equipment, among many other operational support equipment, so that the potential of Gripen, and its systems, are used to the maximum, ”explained Lt. Brig. Aguiar.

The Brazilian Gripen Programme began in 2013 when Saab successfully bid for the F-X2 Programme to replace the jet fighter fleet operated by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). In October 2014 a contract was signed with the Brazilian government for the development and production of 36 aircraft. In 2024 the last jet fighter will be delivered to the FAB, but the partnership between Saab and Brazil is expected to go on for a long time through a wide-ranging technology transfer that will enable Brazil to develop, produce and maintain supersonic jet fighters.


Brazilian Air Force pilots begin conversion training on Saab Gripen in Sweden 2 After completing the training with the Gripen C/D, the pilots will return to Brazil to continue the preparations for receiving the E/F version of the fighter (Picture source: Brazilian air Force via Saab)