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“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.

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What happens when a multi-role fighter aircraft like Gripen and a state-of-the-art Air-to-Air missile like MBDA’s Meteor come together? They make for one of the strongest and the most lethal combinations in air-warfare. 

During modern warfare, the ability to strike with pinpoint precision from beyond the horizon is very crucial. Let’s take a look at how Meteor, which is considered to be the best Beyond-Visual-Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) available today, does exactly that. 

With an operational range of over 100 km, a BVRAAM Meteor missile can travel at a speed of over Mach 4, which is over four times the speed of sound. The missile can accelerate mid-way, leaving very little chances of the target to escape. In fact, it has a no-escape zone of over 60 km which is known to be the largest among air-to-air missiles. 

Meteor is capable of engaging targets ranging from agile jets and UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to cruise missiles, simultaneously and autonomously in any given weather. 

More features that make Meteor capable include its two-way data link ability, active radar seeker, and the solid-fueled Ramjet motor. The two-way data link allows the pilot to target and re-target the missile even after it has been launched. The active radar seeker enhances the missile’s tracking ability, and the ramjet propulsion system gives Meteor its high-speed performance and the energy to defeat fast, moving targets at long range.

Meteor is an “all-up-around” weapon and is not only lethal, fast, and ...

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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 ...

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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.​

​In early 2016, SwAF upgraded their Gripen C/D fleet to the MS20 configuration. Here are some photos of their upgraded Gripen aircraft armed with both Meteor missiles and Advanced Medium-Range Air-To-Air Missile (AMRAAM).

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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 ...

Thirty years ago, Gripen took off on its very first flight. The designated test pilot was Stig Holmström. Last year test pilot Marcus Wandt took Gripen E on its first flight. The two pilots met up for a chat.

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