Saab completes production of the first Gripen E forward fuselage in Brazil
Saab is celebrating another milestone in the Gripen program with the production of the first Gripen E front fuselage at its factory in Brazil. This is the most complex part being produced in the country and required professional effort and expertise to complete.
The forward fuselage of the aircraft is the cell where the pilot sits. It houses the ejection seat, flight controls such as the joystick and pedals, the canopy, the AESA radar, the cockpit displays, and all of the aircraft’s avionics.
The piece was finished in the last week of October and will be sent to Sweden to compose the global supply chain for the production of the next fighters, since the structures produced in Brazil or in the headquarters are identical and can be installed in any Gripen E aircraft.
“This production brings with it the message that it was possible to accomplish this huge transfer of knowledge and technology in Brazil. The Brazilian professionals are highly qualified. We are fulfilling all our contractual obligations with the Brazilian government,” says Ola Rosén, head of operations at Saab’s aerostructure factory in Brazil.
This was not the first airframe to be produced on Brazilian territory. According to the original planning, the Brazilian team started the work with the manufacture of less complex parts such as the tail cone and the air brakes. Since then, it has been expanding the experience and knowledge in the manufacturing processes for the production of highly complex structures such as the forward fuselage.
In this new production phase, about 15 dedicated Brazilian professionals, including assemblers, engineers, a local logistics team, and Swedish expatriate employees have been involved. These experienced employees have the mission to guarantee that the knowledge acquired by the Brazilian technicians in Sweden is consolidated during the manufacturing process in the country.
“It is very rewarding to produce such a complex aero-structure as the forward fuselage here in Brazil. This means that the training of the teams, the processes and the installation of the necessary tooling have been successfully completed for the production of this structure, making the Brazilian factory ready for the next deliveries, which are already in production. The next steps will be the optimization and maturing of the processes to have the same efficiency as the Swedish factory”, concludes Alexandre Barbosa, Engineering Manager of Saab’s aerostructure factory in Brazil.
Front Fuselage Technical Features
Size: 3.30m wide x 1.50m high x 92cm deep
Weight: 250 kg
Composed of approximately 1,500 parts and 14,500 fasteners
The Gripen Program
The partnership with Brazil began in 2014, with a contract for the development and production of 36 Gripen E/F aircraft for the Brazilian Air Force, including systems, support and equipment. An extensive technology transfer program, which is being executed over a ten-year period, is driving the development of the local aircraft industry through the partner companies participating in the Brazilian Gripen program.
During this period more than 350 Brazilian technicians and engineers are participating in theoretical and practical training in Sweden to acquire the necessary knowledge to perform the same tasks in Brazil.
English version by the DEFCONPress FYI Team