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The Smart Fighter

Quick Launch


“What a ride, my eyes wobbled frantically between the aircraft instruments and the sky that engulfed me,” says Xavier Alonso, describing his experience of flying the Gripen with test pilot Hakan Wallen.

In an exclusive report in Tribune DeGeneve, Xavier Alonso talks all about the 45 minutes he spent flying the Gripen and that he felt like a knight of the sky for a while bringing back all the memories of comics of Tanguy and Laverdure, Håkan Wallen being Michel Tanguy.

As Gripen slowed and stabilized its speed over the sea,  Alonso was asked if he felt good. “I spluttered in my mask a response that expressed both the happiness in my head dealing with this new sensation and the discomfort of a knotted stomach.”​

Image Courtesy: Helena Lundin

RTAF Gripens.JPG
"We have received a number of new inquiries about Gripen from many Asian countries. Several of them have come up in the last 3-6 months," said Hakan Buskhe, CEO, Saab to Direkt last Friday.

According to the news report, despite weak market conditions, interest for Gripen has shot up in Asia recently.

"Our system is very well suited to the Asian market. The Thai use of Gripen has been noted," Buskhe said.

In April this year, Thailand received three new Gripens from Sweden's Defense Export Agency FMV, bringing Royal Thai Air Force's Gripen fleet to nine.


Gripen Emmen 4158 72 dpi Liander.jpg

Over the next few weeks, we will recap some of the stories that have made news in the first half of 2013.

“Sales of the current models of Gripen and the next generation model may exceed 300 units in the next two decades.” says Eddy de La Motte, head of Gripen Exports.

According to a Bloomberg news report earlier this year, Saab is hopeful about Gripen’s export prospects as F-35 buyers are considering other option now due to budget constraints.“We can now offer a fixed price, fixed performance and fixed timetable,” Eddy said. “The outlook is better than anything I have seen.”

Read the full story: Saab Says Gripen Export Chances Rise as F-35 Buyers Review Plans

Image: Peter Liander

Ulf Nilsson.JPGWith the beginning of the development of the first test aircraft of the new Gripen E called 39-8 at Saab Aeronautics in Linköping, there are speculations about its features and how different it will be as compared to Gripen’s previous models.

In an interview with nyteknik, Ulf Nilsson, head of Gripen Sweden explains about the new test aircraft under construction. Nilsson says that the new test aircraft is being constructed using a completely new hull, aluminum and composite. However there are reused components from Gripen C/D as well.

“A large number of parts would come from different systems,” he says. Nilsson also says that the new hull of the Gripen E will be longer, thicker and heavier than the previous Gripen NG demonstrator. The Gripen E may also include a new radar and a new engine.

Read the full story: Saab bygger första Gripen E


After a rigorous Combat Readiness Training that started on 25 March 2013 and ended on 5 July 2013, eight Gripen pilots are all set to be a part of  units F21 and F17, says the Swedish Air Force blog forsvarsmakten.​ 

“We are pleased with their accomplishments and wish them luck in the future and welcome them back when they are ready to step into the instructor role,” says FVI's Carl Nordberg.

During the training, students completed Phase A of the weapons system training which involved management of both radars and weapons. Thereafter in Phase B, they put into practice their knowledge against airborne targets.​


Visitors at theRoyal International Air Tattoo (RIAT)​ are in for some spectacular aerial displays this year as Gripens from the Swedish and Hungarian Air Force are all set to perform at the event. 

Gripens from 1 Sqn, 59 Tac Wing of the Hungarian Air Force along with Swedish Air Force's Gripens would take to the skies as part of this summer's thrilling seven-hour flying display.

Held annually each July at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, the Royal International Air Tattoo, billed as the world's largest military airshow, has gained the well-earned reputation as one of the UK's top outdoor family events. The Royal International Air Tattoo will be staged at RAF Fairford over the weekend of 20 and 21 July 2013.

With over 250+ aircraft participating each year, upwards of 130,000 visitors and support from the Royal Air Force and some of the world's leading aerospace companies, the Royal International Air Tattoo is among the world's largest military airshows.

This year's Royal International Air Tattoo goes with the theme of 'Celebration of Aviation Excellence'.

Read more about the participation of Gripen at RIAT´s website. ​​


"I take control of the Gripen on the runway. Fredrik lets me. There is also the pedals to press the left and right. "Now give it gas... And now you draw the stick slowly to you. I feel the bird takes off. At a breakneck speed... "Very well done.How do you feel? "" Good. Wow!"

Schweizer Illustrierte​​ editor Yvonne Zurbrügg's flight in the Gripen with pilot Fredrik Müchler in Linköping is captured in her report "Was für ein Vogel!" Zurbrügg talks about the experience of flying in the Gripen and her experience when she had the controls of the aircraft.​​

​When Saab presented its ‘optionally manned’ concept at the Paris air Show this year, it meant much more than the well known concept of a typical pilotless aircraft. It aimed to deliver an aircraft with multiple solutions at an economical price. 

In his presentation at the Air Show, Hakan Buskhe highlights the challenges that Europe faces and how they can be overcome by focusing on developing cutting edge technology while keeping a check on the cost.

According to the presentation, there is an increased demand for European competitiveness in the world market and the governments are paying a lot of money to buy and maintain defence material.

Hence there is an increased need for multifunctionality; for using the same platform for different tasks, using technology developed for defence for civil applications and to be able to use them in a much broader perspective.

Talking about the optionally manned concept, Hakan Buskhe says, “We believe that the logistical footprint would be too high if we build a completely different system just because it is unmanned.” 

Hakan Buskhe stresses on the fact that Gripen was built to be cost effective.ppt3.jpg
“When money is shrinking, when things are getting tougher around the world, we feel that the interest in Saab is increasing because we deliver more for less,” says Hakan Buskhe, CEO, Saab at the Paris air Show this year.

Read the full presentation  here​.


Hakan Buskhe, CEO of Saab AB is confident about the offset deals with Swiss industry members and believes that deals with about 40 companies will be finalized by the end of the year, reports Swiss daily  bernerzeitung.

On being asked about the offsets Saab has already placed, Buskhe says, “For us it is extraordinary that we have already completed ten percent of compensation transactions even before the contract.  I expect that by the end of the year, deals with 40 companies would be finalized with an order volume of well over 300 million francs.”

Talking about the "optionally manned" Gripen concept presented by Saab at the Paris Air Show, Buskhe says that Saab intends to develop an aircraft that offers several options.

“There will always be a need for manned aircraft that can see the enemy or intruder directly and respond directly. But I see the future in an aircraft that can fly both manned and equipped with drones. 

Saab is working on this development, because this is our philosophy. We do not want to make different planes for different tasks but let Gripen offer several options,” he says.

Read the full story:  Wir bieten Ihnen lediglich einen sehr guten Kampfjet an​

Philippine Air Force pilots have set their hearts on the Jas 39 Gripen, says a news report in manilastandardtoday.

According to the report, a random interview conducted by the Philippines News Agency last week indicated that Air Force pilots prefer the Gripen to other fighter planes because of its low cost and effective weapons.

For a long time now, discussions over modernizing the Philippine Air Force (PAF) have been taking place. According toGlobal Nation Inquirer​, PAF plans to acquire new planes in two years to upgrade its air force.

The report quoted Defense Secretary of Philippines Voltaire Gazmin saying, “Attack aircraft, lead-in fighter-trainers, attack helicopters and light and medium transport aircraft are all expected to be delivered within two years.”

Saab offered to sell Gripen to Philippine Air Force (PAF) recently at the annual Air Force symposium held at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

Read the full story:  Pilots eye Gripen fighter jet​

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