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The Smart Fighter

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The 18thProgram Management Review meeting for the second batch of Gripen 39 C/D in Thailand took place between 3 and 7 September at the Holiday Inn hotel, Chiang Mai.

According to RTAF’swebsite, Air Marshal Araya Ngampramuan, Deputy Chief of Staff Royal Thai Air Force chaired the meeting along with Sweden’s Colonel Per Nilsson.

Photo: Delegates of the National Program O​ffice during the meeting in Chiang Mai

Photo Courtesy:RTAF​


The Meteor programme is near conclusion of the pre-production phase with the first production weapons due by the end of the year, says an article in the September issue of Aerospace International and reproduced on Royal Aeronautical Society'sAerospace Insight Blog.

The Meteor,the new beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) system being developed for the Typhoon, Gripen and Rafale,is fitted with external air intakes and air ducts which are closed until the missile is clear of the launch aircraft. After the weapon has been dropped, the engine is started. Once the missile has achieved spontaneous sustained ignition  in the initial boost phase, the air intakes are opened, enabling the weapon to transition to ram-combustor ignition and then to continuous throttle control.

Meteor has been test flown aboard a Eurofighter Typhoon, Gripen and Rafale. The pre-production guided firing campaign was conducted at a number of test ranges, including Vidsel  in Sweden, the Hebrides in Scotland and Parc Aberporth in Wales. The test firings were conducted from a Gripen and a Tornado fighter, including firing at targets flying at altitudes both above and below the aircraft, as well as at different altitudes aiming at slow and fast-moving targets approaching and moving away. The trials included testing how well the missile released from the aircraft,  how the missile seeker coped with finding targets through ‘clutter’ and the robustness of the launching aircraft’s airframe while manoeuvring before and after launch. The firing campaign also tested the missile against both missile countermeasures ...

Africa’s largest exhibition of air, sea and land capability Africa, Aerospace and Defence 2012 (AAD2012) kicks off on 19 September in the city of Tshwane at AFB Waterkloof.

The first three days of the exhibition will have trade and static displays for trade visitors from more than 28 countries. 12 National Pavilions from India, Russia, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Belgium, China, USA, UK, Romania, Pakistan and Brazil will be featured and are expected to stimulate business for local and international companies involved in the growing defence, general aviation and security industries.

For the public, the Airshow days are on 22 and 23 September. There would be breath-taking aerobatic displays and also static displays of aircraft, trucks and armoured vehicles.

For young students and learners who want to experience the world of flight simulators, vehicle simulators and model building, there would be a Youth Development Programme as well. As a part of this programme, Industry Representatives at the exhibition would provide information about careers in the aerospace and defence industries.

For more information on the event, visitors are requested to visit the Africa Aerospace and Defencewebsite.

When DefesaNet’s Jr aerospace analyst Vianney Rille visited SAAB in May 2012 to evaluate the Gripen, it was an altogether different experience for him for he was not looking at a finished aircraft but at an aircraft under development, the Gripen NG.

“Far from the booklets, advertising brochures and salesman presentations, I was lookingfor the most recent progress in the development of theNext Generation multi-role fighter that couldjustify the self-titled Smart Fighter and Best Single Engine up to now,” Vianney Rille says in a DefesaNet Special report Gripen - A ticket to the future.

Talking about his experience of flying the Gripen, he says it is pretty agile, pleasant to fly, has friendly interfaces as Stig Holmström (first pilot to fly the Gripen) told him. “I did all maneuvers recommended by the experienced pilot in order to explore the aircraft envelope. But the “iPhone App” way of thinking was the boldest chapter of a weeklong visit. Like a Smartphone, this concept comes from a split avionics architecture, where Flight Critical Systems are separated from the Tactical. This way, you can make changes, adaptations and improvements in the Tactical avionics without interfering with the aircraft flight characteristics and control systems."

Read theDefesaNet Special report Gripen - A ticket to the future.

Decisions on large strategic defence material acquisitions are often subject to debate. Since the announcement of the Swiss type-selection of Gripen on 30 November, the Swiss acquisition process has been subject to great interest and debate among several stakeholders.

On 8 September 2012, the Swiss Air Force Officers Society AVIA invited its members to an information meeting on the evaluation and acquisition of the new fighter of the Swiss Armed Forces  (TTE). AVIA had invited Swiss and Swedish officials as well as industrial representatives including Saab to be present on the discussion panel.

According to the organizers, the main objective of the information event on 8 September was to let the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport, DDPS, the Swedish delegation with the Ambasador, the Defence Attaché, the Swedish Defence and Security Export Agency, FXM,  and Saab as the manufacturer of Gripen to rectify and respond to common misconceptions about the evaluation, the type-selection and the fighter aircraft itself.
"This meeting was an excellent opportunity for us to meet and discuss with the AVIA group and other invited stakeholders. Some important clarifications regarding the process and the Gripen fighter were made and we welcome open discussions in forums like this", says Richard Smith, Campaign Director for Gripen in Switzerland. Richard continues, "We are convinced that Switzerland has made an excellent choice of fighter for the future, an advanced fighter that meets the high requirements of a modern air force. It is the most cost-efficient option for Switzerland ...

According to a news report in the Swedish dailyBusiness World, Saab’s Head of Gripen Exports Eddy de la Motte says that Saab’s goal is to export at least 300 Gripens within the next ten years.

“If this objective is achieved, Saab will have 10 percent of the available market,” he added.

Eddy de la Motte also said that Saab’s visions include the establishing of Gripen NG as the world’s leading single engine multirole combat fighter, and to launch a Sea Gripen version for selected markets, within a joint development programme. 

The Gripen simulator at the Slovak Airshow (SIAF) 2012 was a big hit with visitors lining up at the Saab stall for a simulated flight. 

“It is like a full mission simulator, so you would be able to do almost everything that you can do in real life. You can try and train and do everything you do when you are preparing for a live mission or exercises,” said pilot Peter Fallen at the event.

Watch the video showing Gripen’s participation at the Slovak Airshow 2012 onYouTube.

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During the Nordic Air Meet 2012, the Air Combat Training School carried out training exercises with Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the USA, alongside the Swedish Training Units F 21 and F17, reports the Swedish Armed Forces websiteForsvarsmakten.

The Tactical Development Unit, TU Jas 39 participated in the exercise as an independent division and was equipped with six Jas 39 Gripen and supported by the 3rd Aviation Maintenance Company from F7 in Såternäs.

The exercise provided a unique opportunity to assess the aviation system in its tactical environment. As a part of the exercise, two flight periods were conducted during the day. Around 50 aircraft were given various tasks to deploy collaborative efforts for a limited time period.

Read the full story on Forsvarsmakten​.

Photo:The commander of TU Jas 39, Mikael Olsson, together with Hans Einert on completion of a flight period.Photo Courtesy: Mats Gyllander-Försvarsmakten

Image analysts played a very important role in the success of the Libyan campaign as study of infrared images of Libyan oil storage facilities showed the rise and fall of petroleum supplies during the conflict.

Indian Defence journalVayu, in its report “Linking up in Linkoping” reporting on Swedish Air Force's Lt. Col. Hans Einerth presentation at the Aerospace Forum Sweden in May, said that this allowed the coalition to judge the level of activity of the Libyan government forces.

Col. Hans Einerth spoke about his experience of commanding the Swedish detachment sent to Libya to provide ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) support during operations.

The report says that images from the Gripen’s SPK 39 recce pod were downloaded, analyzed and distributed within 2 hours after landing. Though the recce pod currently does not have a datalink capability for its 25 megapixel photos, it should have it in future. Col. Hans Einerth  said that it would be ideal in future to have a broadband datalink that would send out data in real time to the relevant analysts at the CAOC. This would help in quicker generation of reconnaissance reports as the images would be sent faster..

He also said that ISR data provided by fighter aircraft has its own set of advantages. Though other sources of ISR data are available - from satellites through UAVs - fighter aircraft bring many advantages such as speed, self defence capability and flexibility, particularly in a non-permissive environment.​

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AYou Tubevideo of the ceremony at the Siauliai military base where Czech Gripen fighters officially took over from the Polish Air Force of the monitoring of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Czech Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra,his Lithuanian counterpart Rasa Jukneviciene  attended the ceremony at the Siauliai military base.

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