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The Smart Fighter

Quick Launch



The European Defence Agency (EDA) trialled pooled aerial refueling in which three Swedish Gripen were refueled by an Italian KC-76, reports IHS Jane’s​.

In March 2012, European Defence ministers assigned EDA with the task of working on Air to Air Refueling (AAR) capability as a priority. EDA then developed an approach on increasing overall capacity, reducing fragmentation of the fleet, and optimizing the use of assets.

According to the EDA, the collective AAR certification campaign is the first of its kind; it allows several Member States to obtain the necessary technical and operational clearances in the minimum amount of time for a maximum amount of receivers. 

The benefits of a collective AAR include facilitating the procedure for Member States, improving interoperability and saving time, human resources and costs.

The trials took place at Decimomannu Air Base on the island of Sardinia from 5 to 12 September.

Image Courtesy:EDA​

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Czech pilots, along with their Hungarian and Polish counterparts practiced air operations focused on interoperability including the close air support of ground forces against ground and air targets, at the Steadfast Jazz 2013, this year’s biggest NATO exercise in Poland, reports​.

Exercise Steadfast Jazz was designed to test both live forces and those involved with the command and control of NATO Response Force (NRF) troops using fictional scenarios. According to the report, planning air support of ground forces during operation required meticulous preparation and precise coordination among all types of troops.

The purpose behind Steadfast Jazz 2013 was to train and test the NRF for all kinds of potential missions, including high-intensity combat. Therefore the training required exercising complex capabilities employed by interoperable and multinational forces in a challenging environment. 

"Every foreign exercise is beneficial for us. When working outside the home base, the fleet will always be faced with many uncertainties, and other squadrons whose solution would comprehensively examine our readiness," said navigator 212 Tactical Squadron Lieutenant Pavel Linhart.

More than a 100 Czech soldiers participated in the exercise.

Read the full story:  Čeští, maďarští a polští letci ovládli polské nebe

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"The Gripen C/D is less expensive to develop and to operate than the Gripen A/B which was cheaper than the Viggen.  Also the Gripen E/F will be cheaper to develop and produce and operate as compared to the C/D,” said Hakan Buskhe, President and CEO, Saab at the Paris Air Show earlier this year.

So what makes the latest version of Gripen less expensive? 

Matti Olsson, Head of Strategic & Business Development Production at Saab explains the design philosophy and the approach that leads to the production of a better Gripen in a cost effective manner over time.

“At the end of the Cold War, it was clear that the future defence budgets would be less generous. Hence Saab intensified its efforts to create a smart aircraft to distinguish itself from competitors in the big producer nations,” Olsson says.

Through the entire production process, purchasing and operational costs have been kept lower than for twin-engine fighters. According to Olsson, Gripen E’s flight and mission-critical software systems are kept completely separate from each other. This allows easier upgrades as any change in one component does not affect the other components.

“To keep the production process efficient, the assembly team is trained to be independent, to perform quality checks themselves, without outside supervision,” Olsson adds.

Read the full story  here​.

Image Courtesy: Stefan Kalm

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Saab will be the first partner to offer the new BriteCloud Expendable Active Decoy (EAD) as an optional electronic warfare enhancement for both Gripen C/D and the new generation version, reports Selex’s website.

A fast combat aircraft usually faces complex and advanced airborne and surface-based RF threat, Mobile SAMs being one of them. BriteCloud is a self-contained Digital RF Memory (DRFM) jammer for fast jet aircraft. Its DRFM-based technology has been developed to provide both Doppler and range obscuration to threat. It creates a false yet convincing target that renders technologies designed to spot decoys as ineffective.

According to the report, BriteCloud’s technology has already been tested and will now be a part of various qualification missions and flight trials to guarantee full operational capacity.

“Having assessed its capability, BriteCloud will increase the survivability of Gripen, further enhancing the fighter’s attractiveness to customers.” said Pete Forrest, VP marketing and sales for electronic warfare at Selex ES.

“We are working with Saab towards flight tests of the BriteCloud on Gripen which are expected to take place in 2014,” Forrest adds.

BritCloud  was launched by Selex ES on 6 November.


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South African Air Force pilots recently attended a Defence and Security technology workshop that covered concept air defence suppression weapons, future anti-radiation weapons, optronics countermeasures, tactical data links and radar target recognition of aircraft, reports Defence Web​.

The workshop was organized by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) at the request of Gripen Squadron OC, Lieutenant Colonel MK Mbhokota who thought it was a good time for his squadron to learn about the technological trends and the changing threats.

The two day workshop was designed to give the participating pilots a deeper knowledge of the electronic defence evaluation and research capabilities at the CSIR. The pilots were also given a demonstration of the Gripen mission control simulator and motion simulation. 

“This gave pilots and engineers the opportunity to discuss operational needs and how best to match these to technology know-how,” said Herman le Roux, research group leader in smart systems at the CSIR.

Image Courtesy: Frans Dely

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Swedish company Saab has made giant inroads into the Thai market in terms of both aircraft and shipborne systems, reports Defence Update​.

Saab’s offering to the Royal Thai Air Force includes a total of 12 Gripens, two Saab 100B Argus Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft fitted with Erieye radar, and two Saab 340 aircraft. Thailand’s new fighters will also be equipped with RBS-15F anti-ship missiles as part of their armament.

Thailand has been one of the top 10 markets for Saab for a long time now. The defence company recently inaugurated its new office in Bangkok to increase its presence in the Asia Pacific region and to explore the opportunities in the region. 

Read the full story:  Modernizing the Royal Thai Air Force

Image Courtesy: Stefen Kalm

​Saab Commander Contest winners, Mr. Natanun Mejunpet and Mr. Kanitin Polhet got the opportunity to fly the Gripen Fighter simulator last week at the Saab pavilion at Defense & Security 2013, the most important military event of the Asia Pacific region.

The Saab Commander Quiz Combat had an enthusiastic and widespread response with over 5000 visitors, 3000 contestants from 72 cities, towns and townships in Thailand.Kainin_l_Bjorn_Middle_Natanun_right.jpg
Mr. Kanitin Polhet and Mr. Natanun Mejunpet, winners of the Saab Commander Contest flew the Gripen Fighter simulator. Björn Danielsson, Operational Analyst, Fighter Pilot (ret.), Business Area Aeronautics, Saab is in the middle. 
Mr. Kanitin Polhet in the Gripen cockpit simulator

Mr. Natanun Mejunpetin the Gripen cockpit simulator
“The Saab Commander contest for the Thai people has received very enthusiastic participation from across Thailand and we have today a very strong community of people who have become aware of complex technologies and have a good appreciation of the history of Swedish military technologies. I congratulate all the winners for taking part and answering some tough questions,” says Dan Enstedt, President & CEO, Saab Asia Pacific.

The Defense & Security 2013 was held from 4 to 7 November.

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Solothurn companies see a lot of potential for offsetting transactions in connection with the Swiss Gripen fighter deal, says a news report in grenchnertagblatt.

"The chances of Solothurn industry are undoubtedly very good," says Josef Hart, president of the Industrial Association of Solothurn and associated region.

According to the report, Joseph Hart believes that the business opportunities for the local industry would be big as the offset transactions are not limited to just aircraft components.

"The offset transactions often also refer to additional equipment, production equipment, automation technologies and even projects in the area of research and development," Hart explains.

Joseph Hart is looking forward to good job opportunities in the manufacturing of metal and plastic components as well as in the delivery of manufacturing and automation technologies and precision instruments, the report says.

Read the full story:Der Gripen könnte die Solothurner Industrie beflügeln​

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Gripen becomes a reconnaissance aircraft with just one touch of the pilot, says an article in forsvarsmakten​

The Swedish Air Force has used reconnaissance aircrafts for many years to get information about what happens around the Swedish border. During old days, there were specially designated aircraft for such reconnaissance missions. Today it is the multi-role fighter Gripen that controls the Swedish border from the sky. 

By pressing a button, the pilot can set Gripen in a mode that turns the aircraft into an outstanding reconnaissance aircraft. If an aircraft is supposed to be used in a reconnaissance mission, it has to be equipped with extra sensors. An aircraft always carries a radar and a camera, but to be able to collect more information during a reconnaissance mission, it has to be equipped with a Modular Reconnaissance Pod System (MRPS) and Laser Designator Pod (LDP). 

With the, MRPS, a pilot can take high resolution photos and the LDP helps filming in both daylight and in darkness. Depending on the objective of the reconnaissance mission, more sensors can be used to get excellent pictures. Gripen has proven itself to be a very reliable platform for reconnaissance and will continue to be the eye in the sky for many years to come. 

Read full story:Spaning ger aning

Image Courtesy: Frans Dely

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On the occasion of “Defense & Security 2013”, Thailand, Saab launched a Quiz Combat for Thailand that tests contenders’ knowledge of the options available on the battlefield. The battlefield sits on 

The contest, which was launched in mid-October has received good response with over 4500 visitors to the site, 2600 contestants from 72 cities, towns and townships in Thailand participating in the contest. So far, the contest has produced over 50 winners. 

Three lucky winners would get to fly a Gripen simulator. The questions are designed to test Thai defence enthusiast’s knowledge of defence concepts and products.  Besides a flight in Gripen simulator, there is a host of other exciting prizes to be won which include Saab collectibles and limited edition mementoes.

“Through the unique Saab Commander contest, Thai people will learn more about the complex technologies that make their defence and security both uncompromising and effective, and better appreciate the history of Swedish military technologies”, says Dan Enstedt, President & CEO, Saab Asia Pacific.

Check out the contest at the Saab Commander website.​

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