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SA Gripen3.jpg
“SAAF must get Beyond Visual Range (BVR) capability in order to be a superior air force in its continent,” says Lieutenant Colonel Musa ‘Midnite’ Mbhokota, Officer Commanding 2 Squadron at AFB Makhado.

A news report in  Defence Web  quoted Mbhokota saying that if the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as a region and South Africa as a country wish to be taken seriously on the continent, a BVR capability must be introduced for the SA Air Force’s Gripen C/D fighters.

BVR capability comes from highly integrated weapons system, new generation AESA radars and advanced data link systems. Infra Read Search and Track (IRST), Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) and advanced BVR missiles guarantee superior close combat performance.

“Exercise Lion Effort in Sweden had proved that if you don’t have a BVR missile in a BVR environment, you are no factor,” Mbhokota says.

Read the full story:  SAAF must get BVR capability to be relevant on the African continent​

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According to Saab, there is an increased interest for Gripen E in regions including Asia, where Thailand already operates a version of the jet, Europe, South America and sub-Saharan Africa, reports  Bloomberg.

Saab says that this interest is concurrent with the order from the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) for the development of Gripen E and the beginning of the assembly of the system.

“The business opportunities seem to be quite promising,” Saab Chief Executive Officer Hakan Buskhe said in the statement. 

“The rising interest for Gripen reflects the long-term analysis of the market for Gripen E as the most cost-efficient and modern state of the art multirole fighter jet system,” he adds.

Read the full story:  Saab Lifts Gripen Combat Jet Market Outlook on Emerging Markets​


Fredrik Süsskind is greeted on his arrival to Wing 7. Image: Sukasom Hiranphan​


Wing 7 Commander, Group Captain Manat Chuanprayoon welcome Fredrik Süsskind (to the left) and his fellow pilot. Image: Sukasom Hiranphan​

Two swedish ferry pilots and one Thai pilot, all happy about the Gripen delivery to air Wing 7. Image: Sukasom Hiranphan​

Mj Fredrik Süsskind is a Gripen Project Test Pilot with FMV. He is also a Gripen ferry flight pilot, who has twice delivered new Gripen aircraft to the Royal Thai Air Force, the latest this September. Gripenblogs asked Fredrik about the long haul ferry flights from his perspective.

How did you prepare for the ferry flight?

The planning started directly after the last delivery in April this year. We were supported by the SwAF who assisted us in all parts during the planning phase.

Was this your first ferry flight?

Personally this was my second ferry flight to Thailand. 3 out of the 5 pilots had previously participated in ferry flights to Thailand.

For how long do you fly each leg? Do you bring any special equipment or rations with you, kept in the cockpit, for the different parts of the ferry flight?

The legs varied between 2h 40minutes down to 1h 15minutes. The most challenging thing during this season is the weather (thunderstorms), heat and possible dehydration. We need to drink a lot in order to stay focused. Once you close the canopy the temperature goes sky high so you really need the air conditioning that the A/C provides on ...

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The demonstration of the unique display of refueling in flight of two JAS-39 Gripen from KC-130 tanker.​

Major Jaroslav Tomaňa from 211th wing of Tactical Air Force in Čáslav received a special memorial crystal plaque award from Daniel Boestad, Head of Gripen Export, CEE.


Chief of General Staff of the Army of the Czech Republic, Lieutenant general Petr Pavel handing over the Scholarship diplomas to Staff Sergeant Pavel Hammer and Corporal Vladimir Krejci. . 

During the weekend Saab participated as a general partner of the NATO Days 2013, the largest public air, military and security show in Central Europe, at LeošJanáček Airport Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Almost 145, 000 visitors that attended the air show had the opportunity to enjoy the Gripen fighter on static display as well as a fly by performed by Czech Air Force, especially the demonstration of the unique display of refueling in flight by two JAS-39 Gripens from KC-130 tanker. Another highlight of the air show was the Swedish Air Force Historical Flight dynamic display with its Saab AJS-37 Viggen aircraft.

Czech pilot awarded for 1,000 flight hours 

On Saturday, 21st September, Major Jaroslav Tomaňa from 211th wing of  Tactical Air Force in Čáslav received a special memorial crystal plaque award for 1,000 flight hours with JAS-39 Gripen fighter jet.

“I really appreciate this award and I would like to express my gratitude  for a very good cooperation between the Czech Republic and the Kingdom of Sweden, which lasts since 2004“, says major Tomaňa, the awarded ...

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Gripens from the 21st Tactical Air Force Base Čáslav are all set to perform aerial displays and an in-flight refueling together with Swedish KC-130 tanker at the 13th NATO Days in Ostrava this weekend. 

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SAAF has decided that 2 Squadron at Air Force Base Makhado, in the north of South Africa will rotate all its 26 aircraft through its routine flying programme, reports  IHS Jane​.

According to the report, the rotation would be an economical option as compared to preservation, and it would also ensure that all the aircraft get an even spread of flying hours and remain perfectly operational.

The report also adds that the Gripen has been an economical aircraft and has proved extremely simple to deploy, with little need for support. Four Gripens were deployed to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo at very short notice in March this year to provide air support had the African Union decided to reverse the rebel seizure of power in the Central African Republic.

Read the full story: SAAF to rotate Gripens​

Image Courtesy: Frans Dely

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About 90 aircraft from five different countries, including 22 Swedish Air Force Gripens are participating in the exercise Arctic Challenge 2013 that started yesterday.

Arctic Challenge is being held for the first time under the cross-border agreements between Finland, Sweden and Norway.

According to  forsvarsmakten​, the exercise is being conducted from four different air bases and countries - Norrbotten Wing in Luleå (Norrbottens flygflottilj), Bodø airbase (Bodø hovedflystasjon) and Örland airbase (Ørland hovedflystasjon) in Norway and Lapland Air Command (Lapin lennosto) in Rovaniemi, Finland. The main base for the exercise is Bodø.

Combined operations like Arctic Challenge 2013 provide a cost-effective and high-quality opportunity to the fighter pilots of participating countries to develop national capabilities, tactical know-how and various forms of cooperation. The exercise also aims to train the participating service personnel for command and control, aircraft maintenance and ground support duties in combined operations.

Arctic Challenge 2013 will continue till 27 September.​

Image Courtesy: Frans Dely

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In a military engagement that aimed to integrate the capabilities of air and ground forces, Swedish Air Force pilots and U.S. Marine Corps Aviators took part in an introduction to Forward Air Controller (Airborne) operations and Close Air Support recently, reports  DVIDS.

According to the report, a Forward Air Controller (FAC) coordinates attack elements and ensures accurate fire on the intended target while mitigating fratricide. An FAC (Airborne) also takes the role of the ground-based Joint Tactical Air Controller (JTAC) and operates on a fixed-wing aircraft or helicopter.

“The thought of Marine Corps troops requiring CAS and a Gripen showing up on-station or a Swedish Black Hawk controlling fires in-and-around Marines drives us to make sure they are good at what they do,” says Capt. Thomas J. Duff, AH-1W Cobra FAC(A), Subject Matter Expert, MAWTS-1.

The report also mentions that this training was the first of its kind in SwAF history. It was organized between 5-23 August at Malmen Military Base, Linköping, Sweden. 

Read the full story:  MAWTS-1 Marines introduce FAC (A) to Swedish Air Force

Thai News Agency (TNA) reported recently that with the delivery of the final three Gripens, the Royal Thai Air Force aspires to become a leading force in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) by 2019.

According to a report in, General Thanasak told journalists that other countries have praised the Royal Thai Air Force's procurement of Gripen fighters, and that it will integrate its information system with the Royal Thai Army and the Royal Thai Navy in the future.

On 11 September, the Royal Thai Air Force declared the Gripen Integrated Air Defense System commissioned as a fully operational part of the air force at its home base, Wing 7 in Surat Thani. The Gripen Integrated Air Defense System (GIADS) paves the way to develop RTAF’s network to connect all three military services so that they are able to jointly operate under the concept of Network Centric Operations (NCO).

“The Gripen fighters will become part of Asean's peacekeeping forces when the Asean Community (AC) is formed by 2015,” General Thanasak said.

Read the full story:  Royal Thai Air Force Targets To Become Regional Leading Force By 2019

Just five and a half years after the signing ceremony in Stockholm February 2008, the undertaking by Sweden to provide the Royal Thai Air Force with 12 Gripen C/D aircraft, two SAAB 340 AEW, radar and other systems, training and on-site support in a project called Peace Suvarnabhumi nears completion.


Members from Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Navy, Royal Thai Air Force, the Police Force and the Swedish Ambassador Klas Molin in front of the Gripen fleet

Supreme Commander of the Thai Armed Forces, General Thanasak Patimaprakorn and Thai Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong

Lunch at the inauguration ceremony

Swedish Ambassador to Thailand, Mr. Klas Molin hands over a Gripen model to Supreme Commander of the Thai Armed Forces, General Thanasak Patimaprakorn


Despite the technological and logistic complexity, geographical distance and time difference, this project has run on time, thanks to dedicated stakeholders and skilled staff in both countries. It is the first large defense project by Sweden in Asia. 

The latest stamp of approval of this bilateral success came on 11 September as the Royal Thai Air Force declared the Gripen Integrated Air Defense System commissioned as a fully operational part of the air force at its home base, Wing 7 in Surat Thani.

General Thanasak Patimaprakorn, Supreme Commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, officiated over the ceremony along with RTAF Commander ACM Prajin Juntong and high ranking representatives from the Royal Thai Army and the Royal Thai Navy, watched by Thai and Swedish guests, diplomats, press and foreign military attachees stationed ...

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