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Flares may be released for defensive purposes, but one sure can’t deny how beautiful they look. Here is South African Air Forces' (SAAF) Gripen D releasing its flares across an illuminated night cityscape over a beach in Cape Town.

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​The Airbase Blog takes a close look at how munitions are loaded on a Gripen fighter at MH 59, Szentgyörgyi Dezső Airbase, Kecskemét.

Right from day one, the Hungarian Gripen fighters had the capability to use NATO interoperable weapons including Laser Guided Bombs (LGBs) like GBU-12, and non-directional Mk 82 bombs.  

A lot of theoretical and practical training goes into how these bombs are supposed to be handled. First of all, based on the training needs of the pilot, it is decided which weapon will be integrated to Gripen. While moving a bomb, all the necessary documents are checked first. All important data is mentioned on a felt attached to the bomb. 

Thereafter, based on the training requirement at the Air Base, the bomb is assembled and prepared for integration.

Four trained personnel carry out the bomb suspension process in Hungary. One of these personnel is responsible for keeping a close watch on all the steps involved. He or she also makes sure no one is aboard the fighter during the suspension process, and that there is no one smoking in the area either. 

Before the bomb is brought near the plane, the right kind of suspension rack (normal or emergency) is placed in the pylon. Then, an adapter, customized for lifting different kinds of weapons, is also brought in. 

The bombs, in the meantime, are placed horizontally on a frame, all strapped and ready to be integrated to Gripen. Once brought ...

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With the launch of the serial production of Gripen E, Saab has made good progress with the fighter programme this year, says Saab Chief Executive Hakan Buskhe.

At an annual results presentation which happened on 15th February, Buskhe said that serial production of the fighter aircraft began in first week of January 2019.

According to the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV), the Gripen E production is very much on schedule, and the first delivery to both Sweden and Brazil should happen by this year end. The goal was to have Gripen operational in Sweden by 2023, but it may happen before that.

During the annual result presentation, Buskhe also talked about Gripen’s current export opportunities. "We just turned in our proposal to Switzerland and Finland, and we are in discussion with Canada," he says.

Read the full story here.

The offer made by Saab for the Make in India programme includes transfer of technology, something which has been proven very effective and beneficial for the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) as well. Besides, acquiring aircraft with multi-role capabilities and superior weapon systems, the technology transfer offer will allow the overall growth of India’s defence industry.

“We’re talking about transferring the knowledge and the skills and the know-how, so that Indian engineers will be able to design, develop, deliver aircraft; and then modify them, maintain them, operate them, sustain them, and keep them cutting-edge for India for the next 50 years. That’s what India needs” says Head of Communications of Saab India, Robert Hewson, during an interview at Aero India 2019. “And only Saab is prepared to transfer that level of independent technology to India,” he adds.

The goal of a night flying exercise is to develop combat readiness 24*7. The pilots get to train using the night time vision goggles and be better prepared for international missions.​ And of course night time training exercises make for a great video.


“Gripen is very easy to fly. And that helps the pilot to focus on the mission,” says Swedish Air Force Fighter pilot Henrik Björling, aka "Sunshine" about flying the fighter, at the Finnish Air Force' 100th anniversary celebration.

Much has been said about Gripen’s efficient maneuverability which is, among many, one of the most important reasons why it is considered to be a pilot’s fighter. But what is seldom discussed is the Human Machine Interface (HMI)

Gripen C/D’s cockpit is equipped with three large, full colour, Multi-Function Displays (MFDs) and a wide angle diffractive optics Head-Up Display (HUD) with a holographic combiner providing the pilot with a superior and outstanding situattional awareness.

As said during the training conducted by FAB (Brazilian Air Force) last year by Colonel Ricardo Rezende, the future Gripen pilots were able to effortlessly put theory into practice on the Gripen simulators. During the course of only one week, they had the opportunity to train different complex scenarios in simulators and learn basic combat technics, tactical datalinks, and situational awareness. “It is the outstanding Human Machine Interface (HMI) that makes Gripen easy for the pilot to use and maneuver,” said Colonel Ricardo Rezende.

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Royal Thai Air Force welcomed students, parents and teachers to Wing 7 last week to familiarise them with operations at the Air Base.

Image Courtesy: RTAF

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The last ten years of Gripen operations in Thailand have set new standards in South East Asia, says a report in Combataircraft.keypublishing.com.

According to the report, when the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) was looking for a new fighter to replace its ageing F-5E Tiger IIs, it was thinking outside the box. Unlike its previous military hardware choices, the air force was looking for a complete package with advanced sensors and network centric capabilities. The contract with Saab was signed in 2008. Deliveries began around 2011 for two single seaters (Gripen C) and four two seaters (Gripen D). They further ordered 6 more around 2010, which were delivered in two phases in 2013.

In the last ten years, Gripen has been a part of various RTAF missions and deployments. Last year, the RTAf Gripen completed 10,000 flight hours at the Pitch Black Exercise.

As per a Jane's report, RTAF is now looking to upgrade its Gripen fighters to MS20 configuration. "We are planning to upgrade the Gripens to the MS20 standard. We have seen the capabilities of the current standard and it would do everything we need," Group Captain Prachya Tippayarat, deputy commander of the RTAF's Wing 7 at Surat Thani Air Base, said.

Read the full story here.

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On 30th January 2019, Saab submitted its proposal for the Finnish HX fighter procurement to the Finnish defence procurement agency. The proposal, which comprises of 64 Gripen aircraft, is a response to the Request For Quotation (RFQ) sent by the Finnish Defence Forces’ Logistics Command on 27th April 2018. The proposal includes both one-seater Gripen E and two-seater Gripen F.

In addition to the Gripen fighters, the proposal also includes a substantial weapon and sensor package and the necessary equipment and services needed for operating the system. This includes an industrial co-operation programme which aims to build extensive national capabilities in Finland for Security of Supply.

The proposal also includes transfer of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capabilities to the local industry. Saab has also offered an establishment of a Gripen sustainment and development centre in Finland.

“The outstanding capabilities of Gripen are an excellent match for the Finnish needs and requirements. With Gripen, Finland can renew its fighter fleet without compromising on the number of fighters owing to a truly competitive life-cycle cost,” says Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and head of Saab business area Aeronautics.

The HX Fighter Programme was launched in 2015 and was set up to replace the Finnish Air Force’s current fleet with new fighters.

Read the full story here.

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14 Hungarian Air Force (HuAF) Gripen fighters are being moved from Kecskemét Air Base to Pápa Air Base for at least six months, reports Hvg.hu.

According to the report, the Kecskemét Air Base is going through a transformation after which it will be both a military and a civilian airport.

The report adds that Hungarian Gripen pilots will train in Lithuania till May first half after which the move will begin.

Read the full story here.

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