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The Smart Fighter

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How do you build a super computer in a biscuit box? That about sums up the challenge of creating super small, super tough and super sensitive radar systems such as the ES-05 Raven radar for the Gripen E being produced by Selex ES.

“The great challenge of a radar system is that it combines the mechanical challenges, electrical challenges, software challenges and physical challenges of all types, all in a very small volume, in a very demanding environment. And you have to basically build a super computer in a biscuit box,” Mark Smith, VP of technology at Selex ESW says.


Gripen is one of the several options that Colombia is looking at in order to replace its existing fleet of fighter aircraft, reports

Brigadier General Carlos Bueno, Air Operations Commander, FAC, says that the fighter selection process will take almost 3-4 years and the options include Lockheed Martin, Russian Sukhoi Su-30, Dassault, Rafale, Mirage 2000 and Gripen.

According to IHS Jane’s​, Colombia is already working on replacing its aging Cessna A-37 Dragonfly and Rockwell OV-10 Bronco ground attack platforms. 

Read the full story:Colombia intresserat av Gripen

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Fabio Antognini, "Fanta" for short, is one of the few Swiss military pilots to have already flown the Gripen. The 51 year-old tells us about his experiences with the fighter jet.  

Mr. Antognini, you have been able to fly the Gripen again over the last few days from the military airfield in Payerne. What missions have you flown?

Last Friday and Monday we did training flights for the Axalp flight demo we are doing this Wednesday and Thursday. We took off from Payerne military airfield and did a dry run on the first flight i.e. we flew the approach several times exactly as we would in a real mission in order to get used to the challenging geography and the plane. Then for the hot run we used the aircraft guns to shoot at the targets on the slope. This isn't a test but a demonstration of the Gripen's ability to deploy the guns in our difficult terrain. The Axalp demo is a perfect opportunity to do this. 

You have flown the jet a lot. Do you now know it inside out? 

I know the Gripen well technically, and I've had solid flight experience with the fighter jet. I had the opportunity to do training in Sweden this September, including an introduction to using the guns. This included theory, simulator practice and two-seater flights. And then I did about 10 flight missions in Sweden as solo pilot of the Gripen C. 

How is it different to the Tiger and ...

"It is awesome to know that there is so much technology behind Gripen’s simplicity," says Johannes, winner of Saab's 'Did You Know' contest. 

Johannes who got an opportunity to visit Saab's plant in Linköping and to fly the Gripen Simulator as a prize for winning the contest, was impressed with the technology behind Gripen.

“First and foremost, it is so easy to fly the Gripen, although the aircraft is so tactically organized. It is awesome to know that there is so much technology behind this simplicity. As a pilot I also get a lot of information on the displays that are automatically generated by a sophisticated computer system – very impressive”, Johannes says.

Even before the contest, Johannes was closely following Saab online.

“I had a good knowledge of Saab and I knew quite a lot about it before the competition. I follow Saab on twitter and I also share the news spread there. Aviation and technology are a major area of interest for me and I have always seen Saab as a leading company in the aerospace, defense, and technology sector,” he says.

Talking more about Gripen, Johannes says, “Gripen symbolizes everything good with Sweden. It symbolizes innovation, independence and engineering excellence, and it proves that Sweden is not only capable, but is also leading the way.”

Read the full story:Gripen-symboliserar-allt-bra-med-Sverige​

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Saab is displaying its solutions across the aerospace domain, covering defence, surveillance, traffic management and training at the Dubai Airshow 2013.

Saab is exhibiting at stand no. 2324 and static display no. 25. Besides Gripen, Saab is also displaying products like RBS 70 NG, BAMSE, ESTL, IDAS and CAMPS at the event. Visitors at the event showed great interest in Saab 340 MSA on Monday.

The Dubai Airshow is Middle East's leading aerospace event. It was first held in 1986 as a small civil aviation trade show organized at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Over the years, the Airshow has shown rapid growth with participation of around 890 exhibitors from 47 countries now. 

The Dubai Airshow 2013 will be held till 21 November.

Please click here to view Saab’s various products on display at the event.


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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