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​For all you desktop pilots out there wondering what it's like to fly Gripen E – one of the world’s most advanced fighter, wait no longer, soon it will be your turn.​

What happens when a Gripen pilot reaches high altitude and the cabin pressure drops all of a sudden? It can actually have fatal consequences, and therefore it is very important to have systems in place that detect such scenarios in advance and take measures to protect the pilot.

Recently, as a part of Gripen E testing, a number of tests were conducted to verify these systems. Prototype 39-9 onwards, Gripen E has several new systems installed, including an On-Board Oxygen Generating System (OBOGS) and anti-g system.

Two different pressure chambers were used to conduct these tests; one simulated the cabin in the aircraft and the other simulated a non-pressurized space (device space), where OBOGS was mounted. A test doll with a respiratory simulator was used at first to conduct a few tests. This was followed by a test pilot stepping in to do corresponding tests and evaluate the functioning of these systems.

The tests were further enhanced by usage of explosive decompression, simulating the sudden drop in cabin pressure at high altitudes. Low pressure like this could happen in case of an explosion or loss of the aircraft hood. If this happens, the system will quickly detect it, and also take the necessary steps to protect the pilot.

"The focus was to verify that the system gave the correct pressure to the oxygen mask and G-suit depending on the actual altitude. In addition, it was checked that the oxygen level that the system generates ...

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With advancements of technologies in the field of defence taking place at a rapid rate, combat and conflict situations will only get more complicated in future. The missiles are going to be bigger, better. What a fighter needs is survivability that is effective.

Enhanced Survivability Technology (ESTL)​, with its modular structure, offers efficient self-protection for virtually any type of fixed-wing aircraft on a mission-to-mission basis. Missiles of today maybe smart, but ESTL - together with the MAW (Missile Approach Warning) sensors, and AIM-9 and AIM-120 interface - acts as a powerful shield against them.

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The Missile Approach Warning system (MAW) provides rapid, accurate detection and tracking data of approaching missiles.

BOP, the lightweight pyrotechnical dispenser, boasts of a forward firing capability enabling superior protection against latest missiles. BOL, on the other hand, is a lightweight electromechanical dispenser holding efficient chaff or IR payloads. Together with BOP, it gives ESTL an advanced countermeasure dispensing capability.

ESTL provides covert sustainable pre-emptive dispensing, missile warning, forward firing of flares, and cocktail dispensing. All these capabilities have been incorporated into the form-factor of a missile utilizing the well-established AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM interfaces and characteristics for lean aircraft integration.

ESTL offers state-of-the-art self-protection against 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation IR- seekers. A standard, AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM, interface makes it possible to share ESTL units among the aircraft of an entire fleet, which mean better internal coordination during missions. Not just that, ESTL can handle up to ...

Collaborations like that of Brazilian company Embraer and Saab mean an effective Gripen F development. The collaboration is an example of how true technology transfer works.


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Towards the end of 2018, Saab received an order from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) for new equipment for the development of their Gripen E fighters. This order is a supplement to the older Gripen E contract and is valued at SEK 430 million approximately.

The original contract which was signed with FMV in February 2013 was based on terms that certain parts from their existing Gripen C/D aircraft should be reused. The revised contract requires for new equipment to be made for the development of part of the 60 Swedish Gripen E that have been ordered.

An advantage of this revised contract is the assured availability of Gripen C/D fleet for operational service till the new Gripen E/F aircraft are delivered to the Swedish Air Force (SwAF).

This is the second supplementary contract for a batch of new equipment for SwAF’s future Gripen E aircraft. The first supplementary contract which was signed in December 2017 was also for new equipment for the development of their Gripen E and was valued at approximately SEK 400 million.

Read the full story here.

Saab has signed an order to provide Deployable Aircraft Maintenance Facility (DAM) to the Hungarian Air Force for their fleet of Gripen C fighter aircraft. 

DAM is a mobile hangar solution that enables enhanced aircraft maintenance capacity allowing rapid deployment anywhere and anytime. The mobile hangar solution provides the same capabilities as a stationary maintenance infrastructure but at a fraction of the cost.

“This is an important breakthrough for Saab as it marks the first order of the DAM, a fairly new offering in our product portfolio. It is a proof of our continued capability to deliver support solutions allowing air forces to combine operational availability with cost efficiency,” says Ellen Molin, Senior Vice President and head of Saab’s business area Support and Services.

While operating out of remotely located and dispersed forward bases, availability of a fighter aircraft depends on a lot of maintenance related factors. To ensure high availability of a fleet, a well-equipped hangar is a must.

Saab’s First Line Maintenance Hangar provides enhanced aircraft maintenance capacity, whilst the multispectral camouflage provides protection of the aircraft and personnel. The hangar is designed for docking to the Maintenance Containers, providing a sealed and protected environment for maintenance.

The DAM facility will be delivered to the Hungarian Air Force this year.

Read the full story here.

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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.​

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Did you know?

Gripen is the most capable multi-role fighter in service. It has a unique array of weapons for any combat task. Here is a typical air-to-air configuration.

Photo: Jörgen Nilsson

You can download the calendar here.

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Last month, Saab successfully completed a test flight by a Gripen E aircraft with the Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) for the first time.  

The flight included two Meteor missiles and the Gripen E aircraft (designated 39-8) was operated from Saab’s airfield at Linköping, Sweden.

“The aircraft continues to perform as smoothly as we have seen throughout the whole flight test phase flying with external stores. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming steps in the flight test programme, taking us closer and closer to completing weapon integration. Meteor makes Gripen E extremely capable in the air dominance role”, says Robin Nordlander, Gripen experimental test pilot, Saab.

Read the full story here

​​This year, Gripen E successfully completed the first tests to verify the ability to release and launch external payloads. Watch the video.​

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