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Category: GRIPEN AIR FORCES

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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​Wing 7 recently invited over school children to take a look at the Air Base, understand military service and ask questions. 

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Image Courtesy: RTAF


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The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) has submitted its Gripen proposal to the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence. The offer consists of eight new fully NATO-interoperable Gripen C/D fighter aircraft to equip the Bulgarian Air Force. Four out of these eight Gripen fighters with the latest MS20 configuration will be delivered within two years of signing a contract. Training of the pilots and technicians with full QRA capability will also be included within the budget framework.

“The Swedish offer meets the requirements of the Bulgarian government regarding budget, delivery schedule and capabilities of the new aircraft,” says Joakim Wallin, Director Export and International Relations, Swedish Defence Materiel Administration.

As a part of Saab's offer, two fully equipped hangars will be built at the Graf Ignatievo airbase. There will be a regional fighter support center as well which promises creation of new jobs.

Bulgaria is currently deciding which fighter plane to zero-in on, and has so far, three options- Saab's Gripen,  Lockheed Martin's F16, and secondhand Eurofighters from Italy. After being analysed by the first level of expert group, the bids are currently being evaluated by a political military commission.

Read the full story here

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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 ...

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In the last four years, the Swedish, the Czech Republic, and the Hungarian Air Forces have successfully completed the MS20 upgrade to their Gripen fleet.  And now, the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) is reportedly looking to upgrade its fleet of 11 Gripen C/Ds with the latest configuration. Their Gripens are currently configured to the MS19 version. 

The MS20 upgrade involves both software and hardware upgrade which would enhance Gripen’s air-to-ground target engagement by integrating electro-optical pods that will allow the jets to drop laser-guided bombs.

Along with an enhancement of Gripen’s air-to-ground target engagement ability, the MS20 configuration will also introduce new radar modes that will improve the fighter’s air-to-air target engagement even more. The upgrade will also add Boeing’s Small Diameter Bomb and MBDA’s Meteor beyond-visual-range-air-to-air-missile (BVRAAM).

According to another news report in Defense News​, RTAF however, would not need the integration of the NATO standard 16 datalink used by NATO and its partner nations. The RTAF’s Gripens will continue to run on Link T, which is the Thai military’s indigenous network.

"We are planning to upgrade the Gripens to the MS20 standard. We have seen the capabilities of the latest standard and it’s everything we need," says Group Captain Prachya Tippayarat, Deputy Commander of the RTAF's Wing 7 at Surat Thani Air Base. “However, no details on the timelines have been announced yet,” he adds.

It was in 2008 when an agreement was signed between ...

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Flares wow at airshows, but their real world application is far more important. Flares are one of the many systems that enable Gripen combat survivability.

Photo: Istvan “TopiDoc” Toperczer

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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 ...

​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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F 7 Såtenäs had their Gripen pilots practise for emergencies and quick reaction missions earlier this month.

The exercise was a complete surprise for the division's staff. 24 hours after the launch of the emergency chain of commands, the 72nd fighter division had redeployed its personnel and equipment, including three Gripen fighters, and was able to start completing the tasks at the Halmstad airport. The fighter division continued to operate from Halmstad Base until Wednesday afternoon, after which it re-grouped at the home base Såtenäs.

The ability to operate from dispersed bases is very important for SwAF. "For the past three years, F 7 and the Air Force have taken several important steps in that direction," said Lars Helmrich, head of Skaraborg's air wing, F 7. 

“With the exercise this week, we continue to strengthen the ability of the Air Force to operate from several bases. This increases the accessibility of the Air Force as well.”

Read the full story here.

Photo courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​

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