Brazil hosted the meeting, which took place at the Brazilian Embassy in London
Agência Força Aérea, por Tenente Letícia Faria
The Commander of the Brazilian Air Force, Air Lieutenant Brigadier Carlos de Almeida Baptista Junior, who is in England, participated this Wednesday (July 20th), in the Gripen User’s Group – Air Chiefs Conference. The event took place at the Brazilian Embassy in London.
The meeting is exclusively for Air Force Commanders who operate Gripen, namely Sweden, Major General Carl-Johan Edström; Czech Republic, Major General Petr Mikulenka; Hungary, Major General Nándor Kilián; Thailand, Air Chief Marshal Napadej Dhupatemiya; South Africa, Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo; and now Brazil, which recently received two Saab aircraft, which in the future will become part of the FAB fighter fleet. The meetings are held every two years. This year Brazil was the host country for the meeting.
According to the FAB Commander, holding the meeting on July 20 was special because it marks the birthday of Santos-Dumont, the Father of Aviation and Patron of Brazilian Aeronautics. “It is enriching to receive the Commanders of Air Forces that already operate the Gripen, since they are experienced and we are just beginning, that is, we can absorb all the operational, logistical and assembly knowledge of an Air Unit. An important activity that brings all the proposals from the working groups, in which we decide at the highest level the future of the Gripen project for all nations involved”, explains the General Officer.
The Ambassador of Brazil in London, Fred Arruda, received the group of Commanders, and commented on the meeting. “We are proud to host this meeting, because there is a lot of science involved in the aeronautical sector, and also, the FAB has great respect here, in the UK, with extraordinary prestige, and it is always good to have closer ties between the Brazilian Air Force and the other Forces,” he added.
For the Commander of the Czech Air Force, Major General Pter Mikulenka, this meeting gives a better knowledge about the other Air Forces. “This is an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences among the Gripen family. And of course, after that, it’s also an excellent opportunity to get to know each other’s specific areas by reporting experiences and showing Gripen operations platforms. So it’s very good to know what we will do in the future and thus continue the progress of the system,” he said.
The Commander of Hungary, Major General Mándor Kilián, emphasized the importance of learning about Gripen’s functionalities. “It is essential to show the operational information, and in this meeting we can discuss and have a control over everything that happens. Of course, they are also important issues for the future because we will be able to show what the benefits of the Gripen are,” he explained.
And the Commander of the South African Air Force, Lieutenant General Wisenan Mbambo, reported that meetings like these are of great value to the South African Air Force, because then they can be accounted for.
According to the Secretary of the Gripen User’s Group, Magnus Nilsson, the importance of this meeting is to discuss what we can improve and how we can work together to find small ways to increase our responsibilities that are essential for this meeting.
Objectives of the Gripen User’s Group
The meeting has the objective of dealing with technical and operational issues of Gripen, as well as being a moment when Air Force Commanders have the opportunity to discuss other issues of common interest, as well as problems and solutions, training and the possibility of developing the aircraft by increasing features, capabilities and equipment.
The meeting was coordinated by the President of the WG – Working Group for the Operational Implementation of FAB’s Gripen – Aviator Lieutenant Colonel Felipe Bombarda Guedes, who highlighted the need for the conference. “This meeting brings the great benefit of learning from the experience of others, so this saves not only for us who are from FAB, but for each nation that operates the Gripen. With this, we share knowledge and learn, besides doing the work of cooperation for new ideas and decisions for the future of the new fighter we will operate, making a better product for all,’ finalizes the Officer.
Note: Video with audio in Portuguese
Photos: Suboficial Manfrim / CECOMSAER