Saab has cut metal on the first two-seat Gripen F for the Brazilian air force.

The first part cut for the aircraft will form part of the jet’s air duct section, just behind the fighter’s cockpit, says Saab.

“This milestone is important for the Gripen project because it demonstrates that the development phase is proceeding properly,” says Colonel Renato Leite, head of the Monitoring and Control Group (GAC-Saab) at the Brazilian Air Force.

“This signals the beginning of the production of the two-seater aircraft, Gripen F, which is much anticipated by the Brazilian Air Force.”

The two-seat version of the fighter will have two modes: a training mode for the tuition of one crew member, and a mode in which the crew share the workload with different display settings.

Brazil has 28 single-seat Gripen Es on order with deliveries starting from 2021, and eight Gripen Fs with deliveries starting from 2023.

Separately, Saab announced that it signed a 24-month, SEK4 Billion ($403 million) revolving credit facility with three Swedish banks.

“The facility will strengthen the company’s financial flexibility, and if needed, be utilised to refinance upcoming and future loan maturities,” says Saab.