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Category: GRIPEN NG

Thirty years ago, Gripen took off on its very first flight. The designated test pilot was Stig Holmström. Last year test pilot Marcus Wandt took Gripen E on its first flight. The two pilots met up for a chat.

​Here are some photos and an action-packed b-roll video from the first test flight of the second Gripen E test aircraft. Test pilot Robin's smile and thumbs-up says it all!

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With the latest order of Wide Area Display (WAD), Head-Up Display (HUD) and Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) for SwAF Gripen E/F fighters, AEL Sistemas becomes one of Saab's biggest global suppliers.

Saab selected AEL Sistemas (AEL) as a new supplier for Gripen NG in Brazil in the year 2015. And now, the Brazilian company has extended its role to exporting its displays for the Swedish Air Force.

"We are pleased that the choice of display configuration is the same for the Brazilian Air Force and the Swedish Air Force Gripen E/F fighters. This standardises the two fleets with a state-of-the-art cockpit display and further honours the Saab-AEL partnership. Both the WAD and the other devices are unique and offer Gripen E/F pilots a situational awareness that did not exist in the past," says Sergio Horta, president of AEL Sistemas. 

The WAD for Brazil’s Gripen NG aircraft is a single intelligent and full-redundant multi-purpose display system, full-colour, large-screen (19 x 8 in) with continuous image presentation and the state-of-the-art touch-screen controls capability. It is the primary source of all flight and mission information in the cockpit. 

A number of simulator training sessions with Brazilian and Swedish pilots have established that with WAD, receiving, fusing and presenting data is much simpler than before.

According to Jonas Hjelm, Head of Business Area Aeronautics at Saab, the screen provided by AEL Sistemas is more intuitive, and therefore, will be easier to operate by future fighter pilots who are accustomed to handling touch-screens ...

Gripen E development sees Saab, FMV and the Swedish Air Force working together at each stage of development, jointly validating and verifying aircraft systems. As a part of this, test pilot from FMV, Major Henrik Wänseth, flew Gripen E (39-8) for the first time last week. 

“Flying Gripen E was a major target for both FMV and myself. It was both fun and good to verify that what we saw in rigs and simulators matched the aircraft in reality," says Henrik Wänseth, who has been located at Saab for the last two years.

"It will be very exciting to see the tactical systems integrated with this prototype. It will be interesting to see how it grows into a complete combat aircraft system," he adds.

As a part of this testing, functions of the engine, APU, radar, and the Gripen’s overall flight performance were evaluated.

This is the first time when three parties are performing validation and verification together to increase the efficiency of Gripen development. As per Saab, validation confirms whether the correct product has been built. It shows whether the aircraft is operationally viable and capable of the intended functions. Verification confirms whether the product is correctly built – whether the requirements have been met.

"We have several systems that are being integrated and tested at the moment. These include the tactical systems and the new cockpit,” says Karin Brinkebäck project leader, Gripen E Systems Development at Saab.

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With meteor, a Gripen pilot does not need to see the actual target before firing. One of the most lethal radar-guided missiles, Meteor boasts of a two way data-link and an active radar target seeker which ensures that the missile reaches its target, even at very long ranges. Not just that, a two-way datalink also enables the launch aircraft to provide mid-course target updates or retargeting if required, including data from off-board third parties.

“Meteor is the world's most modern radar guided missile. Combined with IRIS-T, we (the Swedish Air Force) now have the world's best air-to-air missiles integrated with the next generation Gripen. Together, these missiles ensure superior air dominance”, says Pierre Ziheri, pilot and director of TU JAS (Tactical Development JAS 39 Gripen). TU JAS is an FMV unit which is fully focused on a single task: to develop the tactical ability within the Gripen fighter system.

Gripen C/D was the first fighter aircraft to have the meteor capability. The test flight was conducted by FMV and Saab in the year 2012. Last month, Gripen E flew for the first time with a Meteor.

According to an FMV report, meteor is a software based weapon system, which means it can be reprogrammed in future if needed. For example, unlike Gripen C/D which has a Rail Lowering system, 

Gripen E has a new eject kit for the missiles which allows it to carry weapons under the aircraft body. Therefore, changes were made to meteor ...

How does a first flight on a new aircraft feel like? Straight from the pilot’s mouth. Test pilot Robin tells about the first flight with the second Gripen E test aircraft.

Akaer’s partnership with Saab began long before the Gripen Brazil contract was signed. Back in 2009, Akaer was already a part of the Gripen design team, and was involved in small work packages with Gripen. It all started with developing the real fuselage structure (designing the structural parts and conducting the stress analysis of these parts), and engineering. Then they started working on the gun section and electrical projects. Today, Akaer is working in the development of the two-seater aircraft.

One of the first Brazilian companies to have partnered with Saab, Akaer boasts of a portfolio of more than half a million hours of work dedicated to the Gripen programme since 2009.

“They have done the development of structural details, the rear fuselage for both the Swedish and now the Brazilian version (Gripen E). We have a long-lasting relationship with Akaer,” says Mikael Franzen, Head of Business Unit Gripen Brazil-Saab. 

“And now they are involved in the development of the two-seater aircraft as well. We are giving more and more work to Akaer,” he adds.

While Brazil benefits from this wide-ranging technological transfer programme, this relationship between Akaer and Saab is equally valuable for Saab which is constantly looking for new partners to develop new products and services. Saab hopes that Akaer will be able to participate in other projects in Brazil and abroad in future. One of the major reasons of the success of technology transfer programme in Brazil is partnerships like Saab and ...

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On 26 November, Saab completed the successful first flight of the second Gripen E test aircraft.

The second Gripen E test aircraft, designated 39-9, took off on its maiden flight at 09.50 am on 26 November 2018. The test flight was operated from Saab’s airfield at Linköping, Sweden, with Saab test pilot Robin Nordlander at the controls.

“Some people think being a test pilot is the most exciting job in the world and it should be. Flying Gripen E means breaking no sweat though, even on a maiden flight such as this. The flight was so smooth and 39-9 a real pleasure to pilot. I am looking forward to getting it back in the air again and soon putting the new systems to the test,” says Robin Nordlander, Experimental Test Pilot, Saab.

Read the full story here.

​This video is a tribute to the Brazilian aviation pioneer Santos Dumont who flew the first successful flight in a self-propelled aircraft in 1906, and to all airmen that have served the country so far. And guess who features in the video!


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Pilots and other personnel from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) have participated in several operational exchange programmes so far to get an understanding of Gripen operations. For example, at a recent visit to Hungary, Major-Brigadier Jefson Borges learned about the latest Saab offerings for Gripen and interacted with Gripen operators as they shared their experiences of working in a combat environment from a tactical and logistical viewpoint.

Before that, Brazilian pilots attended the Lion Effort Exercise 2018 in October. Lion Effort was a great opportunity to see multiple Gripen operators train together, performing air-to-air and air-to-ground missions using BVR and Infrared missiles.

Currently, two FAB officials are travelling to Thailand for a three month training programme where they will understand in detail, the operational challenges, and get a brief on logistics, and support systems as well.

"The learning curve is very huge. In a short span of time, FAB has to be able to adapt to the new systems and use them for different mission scenarios," says Col. Aviador Ricardo Guerra Rezende, President of the Fox Group which is dedicated to the operational management of the Brazilian Gripen programme.

Read the full story here.

Image Source: FAB

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