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The Smart Fighter

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Saab’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.

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Nordic Fighter Conference  will be held between May 29-30 in Copenhagen, Denmark. 

Lieutenant Colonel Rickard Nystrom, Head, Fighter Requirements, Swedish Air Force will be making a presentation on "Future Plans for Sweden’s Gripen Fleet" explaining the reasons behind the decision to further develop the Gripen aircraft and how the Gripen will continue to be a relevant operational tool for the Swedish Air Force. He would also discuss about the plans to ensure sustainability as the Gripen is developed.

Lieutenant Colonel Jaroslav Mika, Commander, 211 Squadron, Czech Air Force will be presenting on “The JAS 39 Gripen; a Czech Perspective”. The presentation would explain why the JAS 39 Gripen and the benefits of using this particular platform to meet the requirements of the Czech Air Force. He will also speak on training methods used to ensure pilots operate safely and efficiently when on missions and on the future role of the Gripen; the potential to expand its capabilities to defend Czech air space.

​Between 19 and 21 March, Hungarian Gripens performed this year's first air-ground live firing at the MH Bakony Combat Training Center, Hajmáskér Öskü.

A report in the airbase blog describes the exercise in pictures. The picture above shows the first Gripen arriving from Kecskemét check-in at the Veszprém Air Management Centre (CRC). The aircraft then acts according to the flight supervisor (who manages the shooting ground)’s directions.

The flight supervisor informs the in-coming aircraft about weather conditions, frequencies etc. If the aircraft has to attack set goals, it has to stay with the flight supervisor. If it is a close air support (CAS) task, the assigned JTAC will lead the Gripen to the target.

Gripen attacks on descent, with an automatic gun. The smoke from the first shots looks dark and the following shots are less visible. The sound of the automatic gun reaches the observation point only when the aircraft is on ascent.

Inanotherreport, talking about the 27-millimeter Gripen cannon used in the firing, Major Gregory says, “This gun is great for a distance of 1-3 kilometers in air-to-air combat and air-to-ground targets; the accuracy of results is excellent.”

Read the full story:  Gripen related firings and forward air controller with

Gripen aircraft gunner pad

A pilot creates a short promo video after completing his first year at the Swedish Airforce Flying School. The video shows some of the things one experiences while becoming a fighter pilot, helicopter pilot or transport pilot in Sweden.​

Watch the video on  Vimeo​​

Czech Gripen pilots completed 80 refueling contacts with German Airbus 310 MRTT tanker in a three-day training recently, says a news report in Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic’s website

The report says that it was the first time that an in flight refueling was done in the Czech skies. The refueling, which took place mainly over the Czech Giant Mountains, involved a total of five Gripen pilots and six of 21 Tactical Air Force Base pilots.

The report explains that performing an in-flight refueling is not an easy task. In the final phase of the connection, the pilot must be able to approximate the location of the refueling basket at about 5 km/h. If the connection is successful, the pilot needs to be attentive and make sure that the edge of the basket should be at about 30 cm from the canopy.

"The training has increased number of Czech pilots who are able to refuel in the air and advanced capabilities of our flight and, at the same time, advanced combat skills of all the air force," Captain Pavel Pavlik, Deputy Commander of 211th Tactical Flight says.

Read the full story:Gripen is eighty times together over the Czech Republic

Image Courtesy:afbcaslav​

Emmen Air Force Base with its beautiful surroundings

Richard Ljungberg in cockpit

​Smiling faces after a good day of live firing in Axalp​

Bernhard "Beni" Berset, Chief Test Pilot, armasuiise and Richard Ljungberg, Chief Test Pilot, Saab.

Last week, two Gripens with Armasuisse test pilot Bernhard “Beni" Berset and Saab chief test pilot Richard Ljungberg reached Emmen, Switzerland and successfully completed live firing in Axalp. 

According to a report in tagesanzeiger, it was not the first time that a fighter aircraft from Saab was in Switzerland but it was the first time that a Swiss pilot pulled the triger of the Gripen cannons.

"The tests were successful, even though we do not have the specific results," Kaj-Gunnar Sievert, Head of Communications, Armasuisse, said.

The report said that the weapon test was done to check accuracy, performance and reliability of the Gripen fixed 27 mm automatic on-board cannon in Swiss terrain. With the Gripen, Swiss Air Force can hope to build the capacity for air-to-ground operations and to regain the ability of aerial reconnaissance, the report adds.

Click here for a video​  from the live firings.

Read the full story:  Hier schiesst der Gripen im Berner Oberland scharf

Images: Peter Liander ​

media day.jpg
Aviation enthusiasts and people from media were in full attendance during the first few days of the exercise Frisian Flag being held in Netherland, reports Louise Levin in forsvarsmakten.  

The Frisian Flag exercise involves participation of  Sweden’s JAS 39 Gripen, Holland’s F-16M,  Belgium’s F-16M, Poland’s F-16C, German Eurofighters and French Mirage 2000C, Mirage F1CR. 

The exercise is being held from 15 to 19 April and 22 to 26 April.

Frisian Flag is a regular exercise in which several countries participate, both with air, land and naval units. The exercise takes place in a complex hostile environment including anti-aircraft making the exercise realistic. One goal of the exercise is to plan, practice and evaluate large composite aircrafts. Another is to practice air-and-ground operations. The exercise is part of the preparations for 2014 when the fighter division will be in international preparedness - ready for a possible intervention.

Read the full story:Media Day at Frisian Flag​

The Exercise Has Started

Frisian Flag In The Netherlands ​

Image Courtesy: forsvarsmakten

Gripenblogs asked Gripen pilot, Wing Commander Charoen Watanasrimongkol, Commander 701 Squadron at Wing 7, Surat Thani, about what he and his squadron colleagues learned during Cope Tiger 2013 held at Wing 1, Korat between 11 and 21 March. 

This was the first multilateral exercise where RTAF Gripen joined since the aircraft became operational in the air force. Aircraft and personnel from USAF and RSAF also participated in the exercise. 

What kind of missions did your Gripen participate in?

This year, we only did Air to Air missions. Both OCA (Offensive Counter Air) and DCA (Defensive Counter Air) were the primary missions.

What were the objectives, and how were these objectives met/fulfilled?

Our main objectives are to test and evaluate the squadron tactics in the BVR (Beyond Visual Range​) scenarios. I believe we have achieved that.

When is the next bi/multilateral flight exercise with RTAF Gripen due?

The next one is the Thai Boomerang 2013 exercise.

What is the experience from the ground crew point of view, working in a big exercise like Cope Tiger?

They have learned a lot, both in working on a different base and in the fleet management with shared supporting resources. 

What was the biggest challenge for the pilots in the exercise?

For pilots, fighting against multiple BVR-awarded targets was the most challenging aspect from the exercise. Mission commander and Flight leads also got to learn how to plan the mission with other nations and platforms.

What was your fastest turn around? 

We did not time any ...

Royal Thai Air Force is likely to deploy Gripen fighter jets to support an anti-piracy mission in the Strait of Malacca next year, says a news report in  Bangkok Post

The mission is part of the "Eyes in the Sky" project started by the defence forces of Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. The RTAF chief Prajin Jantong said he was about to request the government the permission for the deployment.

According to the RTAF chief, the Network Centric System of the air force will be all set and ready by 2015. The Thai cabinet had approved a 3.29 billion Baht budget for the Royal Thai Navy last year to modernize its frigate HTMS Naruesuan´s computer systems and enable it to link up with RTAF Gripens.

Read the full story:  Gripen jets slated for piracy patrol​

Gripen NG.jpg
According to Saab executives at LAAD 2013, AEL Sistemas SA will sign an avionics package deal with Saab if Brazil chooses Gripen NG for FX-2, reportsDefense News.

"The selection of AEL to supply the avionics package for the Gripen NG demonstrates Saab's commitment to the defense of the country. Saab has offered full cooperation with the Brazilian industry which includes job creation, technology transfer and an opportunity to participate in a joint development program in the field of defense, as well as several other business packages, “said Eddy de la Motte, Head of Gripen Export.

Eddy added that the inclusion of AEL avionics would create a separate standard for the NG development version of the aircraft already ordered by Sweden.

AEL is majorly owned by Elbit of Israel. Embraer, which has been heavily involved in providing avionics to Brazilian Air Force, also has a 25 percent stake in the company.​

Read the full story:AEL To Provide Avionics If Brazil Chooses Gripen NG for FX-2

F-X2: AEL Sistemas SA will provide avionics package Gripen

Image: Katsuhiko Tokunaga​

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