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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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It was ten years ago when the Hungarian Air Force Gripen were first sent notification for a quick reaction alert. A Honvedelem.hu​ reports explains in detail how the Hungarian Gripens are used to check airspace violations.

NATO Air Policing ensures the integrity of Allies’ airspace and protects Alliance nations by maintaining 24/7 Air Policing. All airspace protection missions are carried out under the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS).  

As far as the coordination during air policing is concerned, NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centres (CAOCs) take care of that: the northern part of Europe is managed from Uedem, Germany, and the southern part from Torrejon, Spain.

Detecting airspace violation

The CAOCs have flight plans for every day and they monitor each and every movement in their assigned skies. When they notice a mysterious plane or a familiar plane deviating from its route or failing to make radio connection, they raise an alarm. 

Pilots with aircraft and missiles are kept at the ready 24*7. So when the Hungarian Air Force units receive an alert, the Gripen fighters are scrambled at the earliest. They approach the target plane and try to make a connection as per the protocols. Once verified, the target plane is escorted to an airbase or the border.

Alpha or Tango?

There are two kinds of alarms in context to airspace violations. When a real threat is detected, the unit on duty has to work on the 'Alpha command'. ...

​This month, the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) celebrated Children's Day at Don Muang on 12 January. Gripen's aerial display was the center of attraction for all the young visitors at the Air Base. 


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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.

Saab has signed an order to provide Deployable Aircraft Maintenance Facility (DAM) to the Hungarian Air Force for their fleet of Gripen C fighter aircraft. 

DAM is a mobile hangar solution that enables enhanced aircraft maintenance capacity allowing rapid deployment anywhere and anytime. The mobile hangar solution provides the same capabilities as a stationary maintenance infrastructure but at a fraction of the cost.

“This is an important breakthrough for Saab as it marks the first order of the DAM, a fairly new offering in our product portfolio. It is a proof of our continued capability to deliver support solutions allowing air forces to combine operational availability with cost efficiency,” says Ellen Molin, Senior Vice President and head of Saab’s business area Support and Services.

While operating out of remotely located and dispersed forward bases, availability of a fighter aircraft depends on a lot of maintenance related factors. To ensure high availability of a fleet, a well-equipped hangar is a must.

Saab’s First Line Maintenance Hangar provides enhanced aircraft maintenance capacity, whilst the multispectral camouflage provides protection of the aircraft and personnel. The hangar is designed for docking to the Maintenance Containers, providing a sealed and protected environment for maintenance.

The DAM facility will be delivered to the Hungarian Air Force this year.

Read the full story here.

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Did you know?

Gripen is the most capable multi-role fighter in service. It has a unique array of weapons for any combat task. Here is a typical air-to-air configuration.

Photo: Jörgen Nilsson

You can download the calendar here.

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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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RTAF Gripen has completed 10,000 flight hours now. The milestone was achieved at the Pitch Black 2018 exercise.

"We owe this success to our people, everyone who has been on duty with dedication," an RTAF Commander said.

It’s been ten years since the RTAF placed the order for the first time for the delivery of 6 Gripen fighters from Saab, back in February 2008. Deliveries began around 2011 for two single seaters (Gripen C) and four two seaters (Gripen D). They further ordered 6 more around 2010, which were delivered in two phases in 2013. 

Since then, Gripen has been a mainstay of the Royal Thai Air Force.

At the recently concluded Exercise Pitch Black, the fleet of Thai Gripen performed various drills and exercises alongside Air Force fleets of India, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, United States, and Singapore. 

One of the major goals of the exercise was to increase the combat readiness of the participating air forces. More than 4000 personnel and 140 aircraft participated in the exercise.

The exercise proved to be very fruitful for the RTAF pilots as they enhanced their knowledge and experience while dealing with new battle tactics and major, tactical, combat, modern weapons. Further, it strengthened their relationship with the other participating nations. 

For more information of RTAF Gripen’s participation at Pitch Black 2018, click here.

Image Courtesy: RTAF​

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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. ​

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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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