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The Smart Fighter

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 Visitors at the the recently held Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT)​ witnessed amazing flight displays by Gripens from both the Swedish and the Hungarian Air Forces.

Known as one of the largest military air-shows in the world, RIAT was held at RAF Fairford over the weekend of 20 and 21 July this year. Approximately 200,000 visitors attended the air show. 

Czech Gripen.jpg"The Czech Gripen Offset Programme is certainly among the most successful industrial cooperation programmes that Saab has executed,” Jerry Sigfeldt, Vice President Saab Industrial Cooperation, said while announcing the publication of the Czech Gripen Offset Programme annual performance report for the year ending December 31 2012.

The report, which was anounced in June this year says that the Czech Gripen Offset Programme has delivered 27.4 billion CZK to the Czech Republic as of December 31 2012.

The report highlights that 107 per cent of total offset obligation (130 per cent of the Gripen fighter lease contract value) has been delivered to the Czech Republic. In total, there were 49 registered Gripen offset transactions till December 2012.

“The Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic has approved the 2012 Annual Report for the Gripen Offset Programme. As of December 31 2012 the total percentage of fulfillment amounts to 107 per cent of the obligation. The Programme runs to our satisfaction and in accordance with the terms of the Offset Agreement," said Brigadier General Pavel Bulant, Director of the Armaments Office at the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic.

The Czech Gripen Offset Programme runs from June 14 2004 to December 31 2014.

Read the full story:  Gripen Offset Programme delivers 27.4 billion CZK to the Czech Republic​

​“The future is about the manned and the optionally manned and it is not about one aircraft any longer. It is about co-operation between several systems, manned or unmanned,” says Lennart Sindhal, Head of Business Area, Aeronautics at Saab describing Gripen’s future concepts in his  presentation ‘Gripen-The Crown Of Swedish Aviation Industry’.

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Sindhal says the future is about sensors, sensor integration, sensor fusion, communications, sharing the same situational picture and all of this will be put into different designs for the future.

“It is also interesting that there are lots of new players coming in to the area here rather than the usual suspects and that adds an interesting approach on the market going ahead,” he points out.

“We are very happy from Saab’s side to be where we are. The 10 years, starting from thinking about the first thoughts of Gripen NG now has ended up in the first contract of Gripen E. We look really bright on the future,” Sindhal says.

Read the full presentation here.​

Czech3.jpgSaab’s vision is to have Gripen representing around 10 percent of the accessible market. The market reality however comes with its own set of challenges. Eddy De La Motte, Head of Gripen export, describes how Gripen is all geared up to meet these challenges head on, in a presentation "Gripen-Like No Other”.

Uncertain Threats

One of the biggest challenges is that of uncertain threats which include UAS becoming more expensive and a need for extended flight hours. To tackle such issues, Gripen is equipped with the best situational awareness of all. It is also designed to be upgraded which gives its customers the flexibility to add capabilities according to their customized needs.

Limited Budgets

Budget constraints play a vital role too. Today’s market demands a low life cycle cost and affordable upgrades (which are very important to cope with future requirements). Gripen provides the lowest acquisition and operational cost and it offers embedded training.


Airforces are looking for freedom and flexibility with technology. They demand true technology transfer. Gripen provides flexibility with several weapon providers, holistic view and a full mission cycle.


One of the major design criteria for Gripen has been its NATO interoperability. Gripen has STOL capability, small logistical footprint, NATO links etc. It is capable to operate on standard NATO radio frequencies for voice communication, uses standard NATO measurements like knots, feet, miles etc., can carry pylons with standard NATO connectors for armament, and can transmit data over standard NATO encrypted links.

Read ...

Gripen1111.jpgIn cooperation with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV), during end June 2013, defence and security company Saab successfully conducted its first test firing of the version of the Meteor radar-controlled air-to-air missile, developed for mass production. Gripen was thus the first combat fighter system in the world with the capability to fire this version of the Meteor, which has been developed for Gripen, Eurofighter and Rafale.

The first two Meteor missiles in mass production configuration were fired for the first time from Gripen at a remote-controlled target. The test firing demonstrated separation from the aircraft and the link function between the aircraft and missile, as well as the missile's ability to lock in on the target. The test firing was also used to verify the command support that has been developed for the pilot.

“Testing has been completed as planned and we've now taken yet another important step in work with integration and development of Gripen C/D,” says Michael Östergren, FMV's project manager for the Meteor. “I'm impressed with the results that we've jointly accomplished and it instills considerable confidence in continued work with integrating the Meteor on Gripen.”

Read the full story:  Gripen First To Fire Meteor Missile​

​“Maintaining quality through R&D and global presence is how we work,” says Saab CEO Hakan Buskhe, highlighting the importance of Research and Development through his presentation ‘Breaking The Thought Barrier’ at the Paris Air Show this year.


Saab is already working on extensive co-operation with universities around the world, arranging international student competitions to bring in fresh and innovative ideas.

“We are increasing our spending in R&D. When I started in 2010, we spent 20% of our turnover on R&D and last year it was 25%. We are investing for the future. Even though things are getting tougher, we believe that if we want to be able to compete and supply the security market and the defence forces around the world, we need to invest now. We need to have the right products in 5 -10 years,” said Buskhe.

Buskhe also added that investing in R&D cannot be delayed. “The development especially on sensors and radars are going very rapidly. One day’s loss will give you many years’ delay,” he explains.

“So we are investing on R&D and that is the best insurance we have for our business going forward,” he says.

Read the full presentation here.​

​“Today, air combat is very much about gaining information, getting the situational awareness and having information advantage. It is about sensors; your own onboard sensors, your body sensors, sensors from ground and so on. So it is about getting all the information gathered and fusioned in a way that each operators can use,” says Lennart Sindhal, Head of Business Area Aeronautics, Saab in his presentation​  'Gripen-The Crown Of Swedish Aviation Industry.'

Sindhal’s presentation highlights that it is important to have an advanced sensor fusion, balanced design and a highly dynamic adaptive tactics among other things. A small logistical footprint is also essential as it lets the operators relocate efficiently for their international operations.

Sindhal stresses that air combat is also about balancing the design of the system. “As you will see, the Gripen E is not squeezed in a way that is extremely stealthy because we do not believe in that for several reasons. One reason of course is that if you arrive in something stealthy out in the darkness what is the good of being there when you have very few weapons underneath because you cannot carry more than two missiles in your internal weapon bay,” Sindhal explains.

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Operation analyst and fighter pilot Bjorn Danielsson describes the air combat scenario a bit further with the picture above by saying, “This picture shows a BVR situation and this area is approximately 100/100 kilometers and these pilots don’t really see each other. I want to emphasize that if you go for stealth, you will have to prioritize ...

An article on Atlantic Community's 
website​ had good things to say about Gripen’s capabilities demonstrated during the Libyan mission.

The mission in Libya was Sweden's first air deployment after the 1960’s United Nations operation in the Congo. During the mission, the Swedish planes flew 570 operations and some of these missions were simply police enforcement of the no-fly zone. 

Overall, Sweden provided 2,770 reconnaissance reports to NATO. Due to past training exercises with the Allies, and because of the excellent capabilities evident in its Gripen aircraft, Sweden deserves high marks for the quality of its interoperable defences and excellent troops, the article says.

Read the full story  here​

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The Kecskemet International Air Show will take place next week on August 3 and 4 and Hungarian Gripen pilots are all set to perform at the event.

According to International Air Show’s  website, the air show will take place for nearly 7 hours on both days of the event. Besides solo performances, many formations of military, civilian and old aircraft will be featured.

The first air show at Kecskemét was held on 18 and 19 August 1990. This year, over 100,000 guests are expected to attend the event. In addition to the aerial displays and performances, the airbase would also have a lot on the ground display. 

According to the Air Show’s website, Gripens from Hungary are expected to fly at more than 10 shows in Europe this year, adding to the reputation of the Hungarian Air Force. Hungarian Gripen pilots are preparing to attend the Kecskemét Air Show with a formation featuring several aircraft.

For registration and information on tickets, please visit International Air Show’s website

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With the economic meltdown, defence budgets are facing major cuts around the world. Demands are getting tougher day by day. According to Saab’s CEO Hakan Buskhe’s  presentation ‘Breaking The Thought Barrier’, these tough demands however can benefit Saab.

“Our customers always demand more functions for less cost and that is rather unique in the defence industry. It is normal for other industries. But I believe that it is possible also in our business,” Buskhe says. 

He also stressed that these tougher demands have changed the market equation and competitiveness along with efficiency is the key thing now.

“Being a rather big defence company in a small country, spending 1 billion US dollars a year on R&D, we have to be lean as the Swedish state cannot bear all our investments. So we invest ourselves.”

There is an increased demand for an aircraft with multi role capabilities at an economical price. “This is something that will change the purchase pattern,” he says.

Read the full presentation here:  Breaking The Thought Barrier​

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