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Saab has proposed the South African Air Force (SAAF) to go for the MS20 upgrade for their Gripen fighters, reports the Engineering News.

“Gripen was developed with the concept of continuous upgrades – small upgrades every second or third year," says Mats Lundberg, Senior Marketing Executive, Saab.

In the last four years, the Swedish, Czech, and Hungarian Air Forces have successfully completed the MS20 upgrade to their Gripen fleet. The improvements that were a part of these upgrades ranged from enhanced air-to-ground capabilities to integration of systems like the targeting electro-optical pod Litening III.

"We are proposing that the other operators of the Gripen (South Africa and Thailand) also adopt the same standard," Lundberg said. "It makes it easier for us to support Gripen if all are to the same standard.”

But Lundberg added that the MS20 update can be customised. "A customer does not need to adopt the full range of capabilities offered under MS20, only those that they need," he says.

For South Africa, Saab plans to do a development study before preparing a SAAF-customised MS20 offer. It will be a two-three year programme which will involve the participation of South African defence industry.

Read the full story here.

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​.

​“Gripen C/D with MS20 upgrade and Mk4 radar should be the perfect fit for the Philippine Air Force,” says Magnus Hagman, Campaign Director, Gripen and airborne systems, Saab Asia-Pacific.


At the ADAS 2018 exhibition, Saab had a Gripen C, along with select payloads like RBS15 Gungnir, AMRAAM, and Meteor on static display.

Philipinnes' planned acquisition, also known as the Multi-Role Fighter (MRF) programme is yet to be formalised though. No Request For Information (RFI) has been sent yet. Saab has however, had discussion with the Philippines’ technical working group to understand the military requirements of the country.

​Lion Effort 2018 exercise is currently being held at the Kecskemét airbase, Hungary. The Hungarian, Czech and Swedish airforces have sent their Gripen fighters for participation. Thailand and Brazil have sent representatives who are participating as observers, and NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control (NAEW&C) force is supporting the exercise with one of its E-3s. The main goal of Lion Effort is to enhance the operational capabilities of the participating forces and learn from each other's experiences.

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Image courtesy:  Viktoria Hamori, Zord Gábor László and TopiDoc​

​When Brazilian engineers visit Sweden, they do not just learn about Gripen, but also experience a culture entirely different from their own. It is this experience that plays a very important role in understanding each other and forming a great partnership.

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Perfect balance

The key to victory in any air-to-air confrontation is always the right balance of situational awareness, power and weaponry.

Photo: Jörgen Nilsson

Download the calendar here.


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Eight Swedish Gripen fighters and three Rafale fighters were part of a two-week long exercise called Bernadotte. The joint exercise, which was held in France, was an opportunity for both the air forces to test their inter-operational capabilities.

The exercise consisted of missions that depicted general threat scenarios. The idea was to learn to operate under unfamiliar conditions, and with different kinds of fighters. 

"When we train with foreign nations, the goal is always the same - to be interoperable," said Guillame, Commander of the 3/30 "Lorraine" Squadron, and organizer of the exercise. 

The exercise lasted for two weeks.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: French Air Force

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Denel Dynamics' fifth generation air-to-air missile A-Darter has cleared guided missile qualification tests now. The missile system, which has previously been integrated with the South African Air Force Gripen, offers features like lock-on after launch, and memory tracking with the latest processing capabilities.

The test had four firings that were conducted in various scenarios to understand different capabilities of the missile system. The first test was to check the lock-on after launch capability. For the second firing, the missile was released at a closed range to the target. This tested the high off-boresight capability. The last two tests checked the missile's electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM).  

The first A-Darter air-to-air missile system was successfully launched in 2015. The missile is 2980 mm long, with a diameter of 166 mm, and weighs about 93 kgs. A-Darter boasts of a higher range than traditional SRAAMs. At the same time, it has an agility to handle to closest of close combats. It also features advanced digital processing capability, and a highly sensitive two-colour thermal imaging seeker.

Read the full story 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 all ...

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“My manager called me into the room, shook my hand and said, ‘Congratulations, you’re going to Sweden,’” says António da Fontoura, a hardware and software engineer at AEL. 

“We spent a whole week inside the simulators in order to understand how Gripen’s system works, and we could also feel how these systems - such as the helmet - operate. It has a display that keeps information on the pilot’s visor. If you have a designated target, when looking to the side, the helmet points to its location,” he adds.

Since 2015, several engineers like António have been extensively working to develop various parts of the Gripen fighter along with their Swedish colleagues. More than a 100 Brazilian professionals have been trained so far with a majority of them already working at Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN).

According to General Márcio Bruno Bonotto, "So far, all our expectations have been met. Everything is going as per schedule. 50% of the technology transfer initiatives have been completed. This demonstrates the confidence that FAB and Saab have in each other."

In 2016, Saab and Embraer inaugurated GDDN in Gavião Peixoto, in the state of São Paulo. GDDN is responsible for providing the development environment and simulators required to undertake the fighter development work.

This year in May, Saab unveiled a 5,000-square-meter facility for its future Gripen fighter jet aerostructures plant: Saab Aeronáutica Montagens (SAM). SAM will be responsible for the development of aerostructures for the Brazilian ...

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