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"An air battle is all about getting inside your enemy's OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) loop," says Stefan Engstrom, former Gripen Pilot and Director, Sales & Marketing, Gripen, Business Area Aeronautics.

During the Gripen seminar held on 14th Feb, 2019, New Delhi, India, Stefan explains how Gripen’s combat capability supports the OODA loop concept. The OODA loop is a cycle that was developed by military strategist and United States Air Force Colonel, John Boyd.

Observe

 “Gripen is packed with the latest technologies. With AESA radar, IRST and new EW sensors, a Gripen pilot will most likely be the first to detect an enemy. But you don’t work alone, you work together with other Gripens or other units. This allows you to form a network, leading to effective combat synergies. With all these systems together, you can see the unseen. After all, everything has a signature. Advanced sensors from air, ground, navy, and other systems can all be collaborated, making physical stealth irrelevant,” says Stefan.

Orient

Once the pilot has all the information, the next step is to be able to understand and use that information to win the battle. “All the accumulated information is of no use to me if I can't understand it. While operating a legacy aircraft, you will find that the information you have received, is all over the place. It's very difficult for the pilot to assimilate so much information in one single picture. But with Gripen’s smart HMI, ...

The start-up of production at Saab Aeronáutica Montagens (SAM) plant is fast approaching. In just over a year's time, production will be up and running, where some 60 people, including operators, management, warehouse personnel, and engineers will be manufacturing parts for the Brazilian Gripen E/F fighters. And now, thanks to 3D scanning and CATIA models, it is now possible to tour the plant located outside Sao Paulo by using VR goggles.

Ola Rosén, Assembly Engineer, Saab, and the project manager at SAM, says. ”The aim was to give people an idea of how much space we have allocated for the current work packages. Does the layout allow our operators to move appropriately? Can they move around trollies? We are doing this to ensure that we don’t build the plant and then realise later that it is unsuitable. It will be used as a basis for decision-making before the layout is finalised.” 

Read the full story here.

The offer made by Saab for the Make in India programme includes transfer of technology, something which has been proven very effective and beneficial for the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) as well. Besides, acquiring aircraft with multi-role capabilities and superior weapon systems, the technology transfer offer will allow the overall growth of India’s defence industry.

“We’re talking about transferring the knowledge and the skills and the know-how, so that Indian engineers will be able to design, develop, deliver aircraft; and then modify them, maintain them, operate them, sustain them, and keep them cutting-edge for India for the next 50 years. That’s what India needs” says Head of Communications of Saab India, Robert Hewson, during an interview at Aero India 2019. “And only Saab is prepared to transfer that level of independent technology to India,” he adds.

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The Brazilian Gripen will allow the pilot to make accurate decisions in a short time. Want to know more? Watch Episode 18 of our True Collaboration web series!​​​​

“Gripen is very easy to fly. And that helps the pilot to focus on the mission,” says Swedish Air Force Fighter pilot Henrik Björling, aka "Sunshine" about flying the fighter, at the Finnish Air Force' 100th anniversary celebration.

Much has been said about Gripen’s efficient maneuverability which is, among many, one of the most important reasons why it is considered to be a pilot’s fighter. But what is seldom discussed is the Human Machine Interface (HMI)

Gripen C/D’s cockpit is equipped with three large, full colour, Multi-Function Displays (MFDs) and a wide angle diffractive optics Head-Up Display (HUD) with a holographic combiner providing the pilot with a superior and outstanding situattional awareness.

As said during the training conducted by FAB (Brazilian Air Force) last year by Colonel Ricardo Rezende, the future Gripen pilots were able to effortlessly put theory into practice on the Gripen simulators. During the course of only one week, they had the opportunity to train different complex scenarios in simulators and learn basic combat technics, tactical datalinks, and situational awareness. “It is the outstanding Human Machine Interface (HMI) that makes Gripen easy for the pilot to use and maneuver,” said Colonel Ricardo Rezende.

Busy days in the Gripen factory. Another four Gripen E are soon ready to take to the skies!​

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“As a mechanical engineer, I have taken countless courses about materials, production processes, logistics, industrial economics – and the list goes on. Pretty much everything I have read about at university can be related to the design and production of an aircraft,” writes Johanna from Linköping who talks about her 3-week eye-opening experience working on Gripen fighters at the Saab Aeronautics production unit in Linköping.

Johanna, along with her other graduate colleagues, were part of the Saab Graduate Leadership Programme which is an extended and in-depth introduction to the company for future ‘Saabers.’ Saab's Graduate leadership programme offers thesis work placement wherein students get to solve different kinds of fascinating problems. These students also get to visit Saab sites and develop an extensive understanding of the company.

“What really struck me is how we are taking major steps for the future within production right now. One is how we have successfully implemented full Model-Based Definition (MBD), which is essentially design and production without drawings. Even those who have been working in production for decades, being used to conventional drawings, were happy to show us how they work with their new 3D tools,” she writes.

Read the full story here.

The AESA radar is a huge advancement from earlier mechanical radars which were more prone to “jamming” and other mechanical errors and failures. Emphasizing on the difference in the principle of operation between the two radars, Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (Retd.), Additional Director General, Centre for Air Power Studies, says in an interview that one of the biggest advantages of the AESA radar is that it uses an array of TRMs (Transmitter-Receiver Modules) allowing more range and adding more speed.

AESA stands for Active Electronically Scanned Array and means that, in contrast to older generation radars, it has not only one antenna but a full array of small antennas, called elements. This means that the radar can simultaneously and independently track different targets, and also track targets independently of search volumes.

Development of today’s Electronic Warfare (EW), radar, and communications functionality are done keeping air-superiority in mind. What makes Gripen E an air-to-air superior fighter is the integration of the latest generation precision weapons, targeting sensors, and an AESA radar that ensures superiority in situational awareness as well. The AESA radar was integrated to Gripen for the first time during a flight test program in 2009 which was focused on the tactical systems of the multi-role aircraft.

With AESA, Gripen E also features a repositioner which allows the AESA radar to gain another 40 degrees of scanning ability to either side of the aircraft’s nose.

In the words of Major General Ravi ...

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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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