Six months after the announcement of the Gripen NG as the Brazilian Air Force´s (FAB) future fighter, the local supply chain is taking shape with the signing of updated and more detailed memoranda of understanding (MoUs).
Saab has signed new agreements with Embraer, Akaer (engineering services), Atech (system/sensor integration), Mectron (weapon/system integration) and AEL (cockpit displays and avionics) as well as with newcomer SBTA – São Bernardo Tecnologia Aeroespacial, sources close to the negotiations have told Flightglobal.
Saab is set to deliver the new MoUs to the F-X2 programme office by the end of July along with other FAB requested documentation.
On the eve of the Farnborough Air Show, Embraer has announced the signing of its MoU with Saab covering a “joint programme management for the F-X2 Project”.
The MoU confirms Embraer participation in the full development of the 2-seat derivative of the Gripen NG for the Brazilian Air Force and potential export clients. This variant is currently not required by the Swedish Air Force.
The Gripen contract with FAB is to be signed by Saab, but “Embraer will coordinate all development and production activities in Brazil on behalf of Saab”.
SBTA is a brand new Brazilian aerostructures company created by Saab and Brazilian industrial group Inbra Aerospace.
To make SBTA a “national strategic enterprise” benefiting from tax credits and other government incentives, Saab´s 40% share is the maximum allowed under Brazilian rules.
The São Bernardo do Campo-based SBTA will build some of Gripen NG´s main structural components for both the Brazilian and the Swedish production lines. SBTA-built components will be trucked to Embraer´s Gaviao Peixoto plant for final assembly, painting and pre-delivery tests. SBTA´s future activities will not be limited to the Gripen NG programme.
A previously envisioned “T-1 consortium” was set to build the Gripen structures, but had to be replaced by SBTA because one of its original participants went bankrupt and another was sold to an Italian company.
Akaer, which is focused on engineering services and detailed structural design, opted out of the new manufacturing deal.
Our sources also say that industrial offset packages previously offered to Swiss industry but conditional on that country´s eventual purchase of the Gripen NG could end up being reassigned to SBTA or to other Brazilian companies. A public referendum in Switzerland rejected a plan to acquire Gripen NG fighters two months ago.
Saab and the Brazilian Government will jointly own intellectual property of all new technology developed under the contract.
The Brazilian Air Force Technical Command (CTA) is to be the holder of these technologies on behalf of the government. This shared intellectual property on items like the still undeveloped Gripen NG twin seater will allow the Brazilian Government to collect royalty payments from sales to third party nations or even to veto the sale of aircraft containing those same developments to whatever nations it chooses.