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On 19 December 2022, the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) held a ceremony inducting the first two JAS 39 Gripen E aircraft (known as Gripen F-39 in Brazilian service) into service, as part of the 1st Air Defence Group (1st GDA) – Jaguar Squadron. The squadron is based at Anápolis Air Base, located approximately 160 km southeast of the capital Brasília.

Earlier in November 2022, the Gripen E achieved certification for military use from the Swedish Military Aviation Safety Inspectorate (FLYGI) and the Industrial Fostering and Coordination Institute (IFI) in Brazil. The event follows a flight testing phase which commenced in September 2020, conducted at the Gripen Flight Test Center (GFTC), located at the Embraer plant in Gavião Peixoto. The pilots had previously carried out their training on the Gripen aircraft in Sweden, and are also provided with mission trainer simulators at their Anápolis. The first two production aircraft then arrived in Brazil on 1 April 2022, followed by a further two just months later on 25 September.

The Gripen E for the Brazilian Air Force, Photo: FAB

The Gripen E’s entry into service with Brazil marks a major step forward for the country’s air force, which has previously had to rely on a combination of turboprop designs such as the EMB 314 Super Tucano, and ageing jet aircraft such as the F-5EM/F-5FM, and A-1/A-1M (AMX International). Brazil has so far ordered an initial batch of 36 Gripens followed by a supplementary batch of four, and plans to acquire a total of 66. The purchases have an estimated combined value of USD 2.2 Bn, and the new aircraft will be used to replace Brazil’s ageing F-5 fleet.