- Brazil's first Gripen E aircraft enters the second stage of final assembly in Sweden
- The aircraft is on path for its first flight in 2019
The first Saab Gripen E single-seat combat aircraft destined for Brazil has entered the second stage of final assembly and is on path for its first test flight this year.
Conal Walker, Saab spokesperson, said on 31 January that there are three stages in final assembly. Stage 1 is where the majority of all installations, such as cables and pipes, are made. Stage 2 includes mounting of avionics, auxiliary power unit (APU), engine, radar, canards, canopy, and windshield installation.
Stage 3 is verification of complete aircraft, software loading, and simulation of the aircraft system on the ground. Walker said once Stage 3 work is completed, final work is performed in the delivery hangar, followed by test flights. Walker declined to say when he expected the first Brazil Gripen E aircraft would move into Stage 3.
The Gripen E entering the second stage of final assembly is progress from when the aircraft entered the final assembly stage of production in mid-2018. Mikael Franzén, head of Saab's Gripen Brazil business unit, told Jane's in January that this first Brazilian Gripen E aircraft, which is being manufactured in Linköping, Sweden, will perform its first flight tests in Linköping. Saab, he said, will then introduce Brazilian customer pilots to the aircraft.
Saab plans to deliver the first Gripen E test aircraft to Brazil in 2019. Franzén said the company will deliver operational aircraft starting in 2021. Brazil is under contract to receive 28 Gripen Es and eight twin-seat Gripen Fs between 2019 and 2024.
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