A naval Gripen?
Saab is also promoting in Brazil the Sea Gripen concept, for a new multi-role shipborne fighter jet, replacing the of 1970 era Douglas AF-1 Skyhawk, scheduled to fly from the Brazilian aircraft carrier Sao Paolo for at least ten years. Sao Paolo, the former French Navy Foch, will be retired in 10-20 years, to be replaced by one or two locally built aircraft carriers.
One of the likely contenders for the design and construction of those carriers is the French company DCNS, which already has a strong presence in the country, supporting the construction of submarines for the Brazilian Navy. The company has been showcasing their DEAC Aircraft Carrier project based on the Charles de Gaulle which replaced the Foch in the service of the French Navy.
Until those carriers are built, the AF-1 will continue to be the Navy’s main fighter jet. To continue their missions these Skyhawks recently received new radars – Israeli ELM-2032 Fire Control Radar. Developed and produced by IAI’s Elta Systems subsidiary, the radars were integrated into the A-4 by IAI’s partner IACIT, providing the local support and maintenance for ELTA’s radars, which also includes ELM-2022 radar operational on the Brazilian Air Force C-295 and P-3 fleet for maritime patrol aircraft. The teaming between the two companies evolved into an investment and cooperation agreement signed by ELTA and IACIT in 2013. This radar facility is part of the transfer-of-technology that followed this agreement. The facility includes automated test equipment to provide rapid and reliable turnaround times for the radar systems.
“Brazil is already a strategic partner for Saab,” says Bo Torrestedt, head of Saab market area Latin America. “With the Gripen program, we are building something together that is truly unique, but I believe there are many more opportunities here for us to co-operate further. LAAD is a superb venue for us to show the wide range of Saab’s capabilities to all of Latin America, and to talk to customers about new ideas and new solutions for the air, land and sea domains.”
Other topics of interest for SAAB in Brazil are the modernization of the Erieye Airborne Early warning (AEW) radars, Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Ground Surveillance aircraft, currently installed on Embraer’s EMB-145 business jets and operating with the Brazilian Air Force as part of surveillance operations over the Amazon region.