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Ever since Saab put together its first Gripen offer to India, it has maintained that the partnership will be on the lines of the "Make in India" concept. Defining its proposal a little more, the Swedish defence and security company has now announced that it will manufacture 96 Gripen E/F fighters in India.  

In April last year, India had issued an RFI according to which 85% of the 110 fighters required have to be built in the country under the "Make in India" program. 

“Except the first 18 aircraft, we intend to manufacture everything in India. Saab will look to build an ecosystem of defense manufacturing inside the country,” said Ola Rignell, Chairman and Managing Director of Saab India.

Saab is no stranger to technology transfer. With its Brazilian gripen programme, Saab has already delivered on about 50% of the technology transfer projects. It is successfully collaborating with Brazilian companies like Embraer and Akaer to co-develop various Gripen E/F parts.   

Saab's Make in India program also includes setting up of a full manufacturing facility and an Aerospace eco-system in India, creation of a local supplier base of ancillary systems, and employment of a well-trained Indian workforce.

Read the full story here.​

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It was ten years ago when the Hungarian Air Force Gripen were first sent notification for a quick reaction alert. A Honvedelem.hu​ reports explains in detail how the Hungarian Gripens are used to check airspace violations.

NATO Air Policing ensures the integrity of Allies’ airspace and protects Alliance nations by maintaining 24/7 Air Policing. All airspace protection missions are carried out under the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS).  

As far as the coordination during air policing is concerned, NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centres (CAOCs) take care of that: the northern part of Europe is managed from Uedem, Germany, and the southern part from Torrejon, Spain.

Detecting airspace violation

The CAOCs have flight plans for every day and they monitor each and every movement in their assigned skies. When they notice a mysterious plane or a familiar plane deviating from its route or failing to make radio connection, they raise an alarm. 

Pilots with aircraft and missiles are kept at the ready 24*7. So when the Hungarian Air Force units receive an alert, the Gripen fighters are scrambled at the earliest. They approach the target plane and try to make a connection as per the protocols. Once verified, the target plane is escorted to an airbase or the border.

Alpha or Tango?

There are two kinds of alarms in context to airspace violations. When a real threat is detected, the unit on duty has to work on the 'Alpha command'. ...

​This month, the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) celebrated Children's Day at Don Muang on 12 January. Gripen's aerial display was the center of attraction for all the young visitors at the Air Base. 


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“Everybody wants to fly a Gripen,” said Wing 7 deputy commander Group Captain Prachya Tippayarat, commenting on the abundance of potential recruits who want to become future Gripen pilots.

How did Gripen become a prized Thai fighter?

From forming a full-fledged fighter fleet to completing 10,000 flying hours, let’s take a look at the many milestones Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) Gripen has achieved over a remarkable 10-year journey.

It all started in 2007 when the RTAF decided to introduce Gripen fighter aircraft into their Air Force. It was on February 2011 when the RTAF received their first batch of six Gripen fighters- two Gripen Cs and four Gripen Ds. However, another supplementary contract had already been signed in 2010 for a second batch of six Gripen C fighters which was delivered three years later in 2013.

In June 2011, The RTAF decided to carry out their plan to integrate a Network-Centric Defense Force to enhance interoperability between their military branches. On 11 September 2013, nearing the completion of the Gripen contract signed in 2010 with Sweden, the RTAF announced the Gripen Integrated Air Defense system as a fully operational part of the Air Force at its home base in Surat Thani.

According to 701 Squadron Wing Commander Kritsana Sukdee, the RTAF Gripen unit is “small, but powerful”, as represented by its Tiger Shark emblem. He also points to the importance of regular joint training with other Thai air force squadrons, noting: “There is ...

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Flying during an airshow is a process planned well in advance. From the aerial maneuvers to flight formations to releasing flares and performing duals, every move during a display is tested, verified, approved, rehearsed for months and perfected.

In an interview with Lidovky.cz, Czech Gripen display pilot Ivo Kardoš, winner of the best display award this year at the NATO Days in Ostrava and Air Force Days, talks about his job, and nuances of air displays.

Display flying is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a challenging task that requires a lot of expertise. “An aerial display lasts for only ten minutes. But is exhausting. By the end of it, you can see me sweating like I have run for miles,” he says.

"You have to love your job, or else you cannot do it."

About a standard day at work as a Gripen pilot, Kardoš says it begins with a briefing on the weather and availability of aircraft. Thereafter, pilots get the schedule of their tasks of the day. "We record our flights and analyze it later to see if there is any room for improvement."

Kardoš, who flies at about 15 airshows in a year, says the pilot has to concentrate a lot during a display flight as one has to fly very close to the ground. "We fly at a height of 100-200 yards. There is no time for mistakes. You have to display the same maneuvers you have learnt ...

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RTAF Gripen has completed 10,000 flight hours now. The milestone was achieved at the Pitch Black 2018 exercise.

"We owe this success to our people, everyone who has been on duty with dedication," an RTAF Commander said.

It’s been ten years since the RTAF placed the order for the first time for the delivery of 6 Gripen fighters from Saab, back in February 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. 

Since then, Gripen has been a mainstay of the Royal Thai Air Force.

At the recently concluded Exercise Pitch Black, the fleet of Thai Gripen performed various drills and exercises alongside Air Force fleets of India, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, United States, and Singapore. 

One of the major goals of the exercise was to increase the combat readiness of the participating air forces. More than 4000 personnel and 140 aircraft participated in the exercise.

The exercise proved to be very fruitful for the RTAF pilots as they enhanced their knowledge and experience while dealing with new battle tactics and major, tactical, combat, modern weapons. Further, it strengthened their relationship with the other participating nations. 

For more information of RTAF Gripen’s participation at Pitch Black 2018, click here.

Image Courtesy: RTAF​

​In early 2016, SwAF upgraded their Gripen C/D fleet to the MS20 configuration. Here are some photos of their upgraded Gripen aircraft armed with both Meteor missiles and Advanced Medium-Range Air-To-Air Missile (AMRAAM).

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​Here's another nice video sent by the Hungarian Air Force from the time they trained in Visdel with their MS20 upgraded Gripens.


​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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