In 2014 Saab signed a contract with Brazil to acquire 36 JAS-39E Gripens with the option for 72 aircraft. The JAS-39E chosen in December 2013 is the latest variant of the JAS-39 Gripen series which first flew in 1988. The first Gripen E was delivered to Brazil on September 20th, 2020. If the full requirement for 72 aircraft is fulfilled it will give Brazil the largest modern tactical fighter force in South America.
The Gripen E builds upon the successful design of the Gripen C adding an ES-05 AESA radar, a full touch screen cockpit, and an IRST Infra-red-search and tracks sensor. These upgrades provide enhanced situational awareness and survivability on the 21st-century battlefield. Currently, the largest operational tactical fighter Force in South America is Chile which operates 44 F-16s including 34 older F-16A/Bs which have been upgraded and 10 F-16C Block 50s. The next largest modern tactical fighter force is Venezuela which operates 24 Su-30MKKs along with 22 F-16s. It is unlikely the F-16s are operational.
Brazils Gripen E fleet will provide security from both air threats and maritime threats. Currently, Brazil’s tactical fighter force consists of 43 F-5s and 47 AMXs. These aging airframes will be replaced as the Gripen E is introduced into service.
By: Bijan Anthony Razzaghi (Founder & CEO Gladius Defense & Security)