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A group of 16 fighter pilots, 4 flight controllers and other personnel from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) recently undertook a week-long course with Gripen simulators at the Swedish Air Force Combat Simulation Centre (FLSC) in Stockholm, Sweden.

The objective of this course, which included theoretical studies in Brazil, was to familiarize pilots with controls in the Gripen cockpit and understand the fighter system before it arrives in the country. During the week-long course, participants had the opportunity to train in complex scenarios and learn basic combat techniques, tactical datalinks and situational awareness using Gripen simulators.

Each pilot attending the course had flown at least 500 hours in a fighter aircraft. During the course, they went from theory to practice almost immediately and the degree of difficulty in the scenarios increased rapidly, ending in a very complex Beyond-Visual-Range (BVR) combat scenario.

“The pilots are able to fly Gripen in the simulators after only an hour here at the course. The advantages of Gripen is not only in its radars, sensors, weapons and other capabilities, but also the outstanding Human Machine Interface (HMI) that makes Gripen easy for the pilot to use and maneuver. This is something that we can see in the simulators as well,” says Colonel Ricardo Rezende, Leader of the Fox team responsible for the operational issues regarding implementation and developing operational concepts of Gripen in Brazil.

Four out of the 16 pilots who attended the course will be chosen as Gripen pilots ...

​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 ...

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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.

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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

It is critical that the person in the cockpit has full confidence in the capabilities of the aircraft. So the opinion of the FAB pilots about Gripen is extremely relevant! 

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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.

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