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The Gripen E-series is for customers who face more pronounced threats or have wider territories to secure. With an ability to constantly evolve, Gripen E is built to keep up with all sort of challenges that a future battle scenario may throw at a pilot. But what exactly helps Gripen deal with the most advanced threats?

Face high-threat environment head-on

Contested airspaces, integrated air defence systems, these are modern battlefield environments that call for the most modern fighter systems. Gripen E/F carries a variety of both active and passive measures to disrupt enemy efforts and protect itself and other friendly units. The new Electronic Warfare (EW) system allows disruption of the enemy’s ability to function effectively. Its goal is to either assist in the destruction of enemy assets or confuse them altogether. Designed to handle the new age signal environment, this EW system, with its  ultra wide band digital receivers, advanced signal processing and extensive processing capacity, can distinguish the real threat signals from others.

Detect First

To succeed in any mission up in the sky, information is the key. But what is even more important is the time at which you get this information. Did your enemy sense you before you sensed them? Gripen E/F reduces its likelihood of being detected by relying on its passive sensors, or through active jamming. It utilizes all available data in the battle cloud, including that sent by other air, land or sea-based units, and fuses it locally ...

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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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.

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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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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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The pace at which technology has changed over the last few decades, and continues to do so, has been impressive to say the least. The computers, processors, and electronics of tomorrow are going to be even better and faster. This means any product - no matter how advanced it is - being developed today will have some or a lot of catching up to do every now and then.

For new age fighters, upgradability will be the key. It is for this very reason that Gripen E has been developed with future progress in mind. “The future pilot will need the ability to continuously upgrade the hardware and software and not get stuck in old functionality; this is of increasing importance,” says Saab’s Wing Commander Flying and Gripen test pilot Hans Einerth.

So, how does Saab build a system that is ready for tomorrow, a fighter that will have an edge in an uncertain future?

The answer is 'Split Avionics'. Separating flight critical and mission critical means a less complicated system that allows for easy modifications. Here is how it works at so many levels. 

Gripen avionics system separates 10% of core flight critical management codebase from 90% of tactical management code. This results in avionics that are hardware agnostic, leaving the tactical management to be integrated with new features without the need to re-certify the flight critical software.

Saab’s Avionic Management System (AMS) for Gripen is the first truly open architecture avionics platform. Conscious ...

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With every passing year, the signal environment for Electronic Warfare (EW) systems is becoming more and more complex. There are more signals out there, both military and civilian. Hence it becomes imperative to have a smart EW systems which can quickly differentiate a threat signal from other signals.

All around us, there is an Electromagnetic (EM) spectrum which covers all energy radiated by means of electromagnetic waves including radio communication and radar transmission. According to Inga Bergstrom, Sales Director of Gripen EW, Electronic Warfare is the combat for control of the EM spectrum.

“EW may not be the primary function of a fighter, but it is an enabler to conduct a successful mission,” Inga says.

Some of the tactics used by pilots of fighter aircraft to avoid detection include silent flight by reducing emissions, or by flying at low heights. Even then, detection by enemy devices is a possibility, and in the event that Gripen E’s location has been compromised, EW system provides countermeasure techniques, such as Dispensing – in which decoys are released into the air, creating a false target to fool the enemy.

Elaborating on the features of Gripen’s EW system, Inga says that it is all about listening, detecting, identifying, and if you are detected first, about deterring, defending and defeating. 

EW has been an important part of Gripen from the beginning. Today, Saab has a small, compact system that does a number of things while also reducing drag and ...

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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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