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​Czech Gripen fighters have had some really interesting painted tails in the last ten years. Here are our favorites.

The “Cat Eye” 

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This great looking Gripen was presented to celebrate 10,000 flight hours of the Czech Gripen fleet in 2010. It featured a special tiger on the tail and cat eyes on the canards. 

The “Picasso”

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This brightly coloured tiger scheme was introduced just before NATO Tiger Meet 2013. Due to the rainbow colours, this scheme made Gripen stand out at all the airshows and events it participated.

The “Skull”

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At the NATO Tiger Meet 2014, the Czech Air Force came up with another special tiger marking, only this time, it had a human skull sketch as well, giving a dramatic effect. 

The “Wildcat”

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Ranked as one of the best tiger painted aircraft at the NATO Tiger Meet 2017, this one features a partially covered face of supermodel Simona Krainová and a tiger. Grace and power, all in one package!

Marking a century

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To commemorate the celebration of a 100 years of the Czechoslovak Air Force, one of the Czech Air Force Gripen fighters got a makeover before the NATO Tiger Meet last year. With a picture of the fleet against the Czech flag colours, and 100 years written on top, this one was a break from the usual tiger motif.  

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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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The Czech Air Force Gripen have now been upgraded to MS20 which gives the fighter enhanced capabilities, most important of which is the addition of ground strike features.  

As a part of the upgrade, Gripen fighters have been integrated with unguided and laser-guided bombs, enabling Gripen to easily perform air-to ground attacks. Besides, air-to-ground capabilities, new radar modes will also improve the effectiveness of air-to-air attacks. Other additions include that of electro-optical pod Litening III and NATO-standard Link 16 datalink and laser designator pods.

The Czech Air Force signed the lease for 14 Gripen fighters in June 2005. Within a year, the Gripen fighters were delivered. When the decision to extend the lease till 2027 was taken, it was also decided that the fighters will be upgraded to MS20 post 2015.

"Thanks to the modernization of the Czech Gripen aircraft, the operational capabilities of the Czech Air Force will be significantly increased. Our staff has appreciated a close and fruitful cooperation with the Swedish side on this specific modernization project as well as the cooperation during the 13 years that we have operated Gripen aircraft," said Colonel Petr Tománek, Commander of the Czech Air Force’s Caslav Air Base.

Read the full story here. ​

​Gripen performs at the NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days. One of the biggest security shows in Europe, NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days presents the resources and the capabilities of the Czech Republic and its allies in the field of defence and security.

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Lion Effort_Gripen0810.jpgPhoto: Istvan “TopiDoc” Toperczer​

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The two week international triannual Gripen exercise Lion Effort, that was being held at the Kecskemét airbase, Hungary has ended. Apart from practicing various missions together, the users also shared experiences of operating Gripen and best practices. 

For more images from the event, click here​.

DndYb9DX4AIHNeF.jpg
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 all ...

​Czech Air Force Gripen presented a powerful aerial display for the Belgian Air Force Days visitors, at Kleine-Brogel airbase earlier this month.


​Last weekend, visitors at the NATO Days in Ostrava and the Air Force Days got an opportunity to see four generations of Saab fighters in air. Saab 32 Lansen was the first aircraft to perform, followed by Saab 35 Draken, Saab 37 Viggen and Gripen. These flights demonstrated the technological advancements that Saab has undergone in the last sixty years.

Besides the individual performances, the Saab fighters also presented a dynamic display with Danish F-16, Finnish F-18.  

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Saab 32 Lansen, which took its maiden flight in 1952, was Saab’s and Sweden’s first aircraft to break the sound barrier. Equipped with surveillance radar, navigation radar and radar elevation gauges, Lansen served as an electronic warfare platform. The attack version was developed later with an innovative and highly secret weapon, called Robot 04. It was the world’s first air-to-sea missile.

Saab 35 Draken, with its unusual dual-delta wings, was considered by many to be the most beautiful design in Swedish aviation history. But it was not aesthetics that led to the unusual wing configuration. It was the requirement of a good low speed performance. The inner wing, with its strong taper transitioned to a thin outer wing with less taper and greater span. It was the inner wing that provided good performance at high speed, while the outer wing enabled good performance at low speed.

Saab 37 Viggen was the first plane outside the US to be equipped with a computer and that could also take off and ...

​The Czech Air Force Gripen which was painted earlier this year to celebrate 100 years of the Czechoslovak Air Force, demonstrated a stunning aerial display at the Radom Airshow.


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RAF Vice-Marshal Harvey Smyth recently tried his hand at flying Czech Gripen, reports Denik.cz.

His flight was a part of his visit at the Caslav Air Base ahead of the Central Hawk, a joint exercise between the Czech Air Force and the Royal Air Force. Participating aircraft included Czech Gripen, British Hawk T1, and L-159 ALCA. The British Hawk usually performs the task of an aggressor during the exercise.

Central Hawk lasts for two weeks. During the first week, Czech and British pilots perform various combat training tasks. In the second week, the participants support the ongoing Ample Strike exercise.

The exercise helps the participants to gain insights from each other's experiences and develop interoperability. "Central Hawk 2018 is an excellent example of a mutually beneficial cooperation. It brings us an opportunity to improve our skills, exchange our knowledge and experience, and make new contacts, "said Major Tomas Merta, the Czech Deputy Exercise Director.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: RAF


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