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2012 proved to be very eventful for the CZ Air force with several operational milestones reached and celebrated. Robert Björklund, Campaign Director for Czech Republic, Gripen Export Team at Saab, is very proud of the achievements and international cooperation which, he emphasizes, creates a great bank of experience for all Gripen airforces. This is a short summary of the Czech Gripen year.

Earlier this year in February, Major Jaroslav Tomaňa and Captain Petr Dřevecký of 21 tactical air base in Čáslav, the Czech Republic became the first pilots in the history of the Czech Air Force to perform air-to-air refueling. 

Later, Saab announced its Gripen Czech Offset Program annual performance report that declared a delivery of 25.6 billion CZK as of December 2011. The report also said that 100% of the value of total offset obligation to the Czech Republic was delivered ahead of schedule.

Starting 1 September, Czech Air Force took over the mission of protecting the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from Poland. The Gripens are on a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) in this NATO led mission. The Czechs have been appointed for the task until January 4, 2013.

Czechs were appointed to protect the Baltic area for the first time in 2009. As compared to that time, they saw an increased number of violations of the airspace during this year's mission.

In October, Gripen users from South Africa, Hungary, Czech Republic, Sweden and Thailand came together to share their experiences of operational use of the ...

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The year 2012 will go down in the history of the Gripen as the year when Sweden affirmed its commitment to the next generation of a platform that has redefined the category. A resounding yes for the Gripen in Swedish Parliament came from 264 Members of Parliament who voted in favour of procurement of between 40-60 Gripen fighters.

“It is an historic day for the Gripen, with unequivocal home political support securing the next generation fighter, Gripen is now even better placed on the export market.” said Eddy de la Motte, Head of Gripen Export at Saab.

The much awaited parliament discussion ended favourably for Gripen, making it even more attractive for interested countries around the world.

The decision for the next generation capped a year that can be best characterized as one where the global popularity of the Gripen was demonstrated time and time again. It was a year that saw countries that fly the Gripen take their appreciation to even higher levels. For Sweden, it was time to be a party to the celebrations.

In March and early April, Sweden hosted the very successful Lion’s Effort at F17 air base in Ronneby. For nearly two weeks the five countries flying Gripens operated together. With a rich experience from Operation Karakal, (NATO’s Operation Unified Protector over Libya), the Swedish personnel had a lot to share at the event, not only the experience of working in a combat environment from a tactical viewpoint, but also the experience of operating as an integrated part of a large multi-national force.

In May, history and ...

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On 13 December 2012, an era ended at the F 7 Wing, when the last sortie of the Gripen A and B was conducted. This last flight was coordinated as a “Christmas Tree flight” according to tradition - the oldest versions of Gripen were flying in a Christmas tree formation. The flight marked the end of an era that started in 1996 with the addition of JAS 39 Gripen to the F7 Wing, reports forsvarsmakten​.

Read the full story:Christmas marks the end of an era

Photo Courtesy:forsvarsmakten

“The weapon systems and avionics of RTAF Gripen 39 C/D are the latest available technology, or we can even say ‘state of the art’,” says the RTAF Commander-in-Chief, ACM Prajin Juntong, in an interview with the editor of Battlefield Magazine, Sompong Nondhasa.

Air Chief Marshal Prachin Jantongtook over as the country's 22nd Air Force Commander recently, saying his target was to make the RTAF Asean's best air force within two years. In his interview with the Battlefield magazine, he gives an overview of the RTAF and how he plans to enhance the potentials and capabilities of the air force.

Here is the translated version of his interview:

For future upgrade, how will the RTAF enhance Gripen performances and capabilities, in terms of pilot, weapon system, radar, etc.?

Prajin Juntong: RTAF will continuously upgrade performances and capabilities of the whole Gripen system:    

Pilots and Support Personnel 

Over the years, RTAF has been conducting professional military pilot training, focusing on knowledge, flying skills and experiences. For Gripen pilots, after completing their training in Sweden, they were assigned to SQ 701, completed combat readiness training, and continued tactical training, as well as participated in multilateral exercises. Recently, we sent pilots and technicians to observe the flying training in the Lion Effort exercise. Once every three years, this exercise is conducted among the Gripen user countries with the main purpose of sharing knowledge and experiences in both flying and aircraft maintenance.

As a part of the Gripen 39 C/D Procurement Program, RTAF sent pilots and fighter controllers to train at the Swedish Air Force Tactical Simulation Center, or FLSC, with the objective of further developing flying skills, ...

Hungarian Gripens were quick and impressive as they received a Tango Alert at the Kecskemét Air Base in the frame of a media event at the beginning of last week, reportsHungarian Business News portal.

This Tango Alert was the training of the Alfa Alert that happened several times in the recent past in the Hungarian Air space. Colonel engineer and Commander József Szűcs says that anything can happen at any time in the air space and last year 32 planes entered Hungarian air space without establishing contact with air control.

Ever since the MiG 29s retired in 2009-2010, a Gripen fleet of 14 aircraft were responsible for the protection of the Hungarian air space. The Gripen fleet was complete in 2007 and it contained 12 single and 2 double seated Swedish fighter jets. Hungarian JAS 39 aircrafts were created for “Jakt”, “Attak” and “Spaning” and participated at a live firing exercise in Sweden at spring 2012.

At the air show organized for the representatives of the media, Brigadier General Nándor Kilián informed press representatives that ever since Gripens completely took over the policing of Hungarian air space, the quality of Hungarian air defence has substantially improved. 

He also mentioned that 10 foreign staff members used to fulfil the tasks of operation, but this number has in time been reduced to three Swedish operators. Reconnaissance and airspace monitoring capacities have improved, and the operation of Gripens at the air base necessitated some renovation work. 

Read the full story:Gripen ...

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In January, a new generation will become ready. A new generation of fighters and pilots, working together to make a difference – to the nations we represent, and to the people we protect. Tune in on 10 January to hear our story.

Watch the teaser here: Gripen NG: Get ready for the new generation

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​Once again Gripen is shown to be the smart choice for operators with cost awareness.

Jane’s recent white paper “Fast Jet Operating Costs Cost Per Flight Hour Study Of Selected Aircraft” shows that the Gripen Operating Costs per Flight Hour – are by far the lowest of all fast jets!

Jane’s comparative study was written by Edward Hunt, a Jane’s Senior Consultant and shows clearly that the Gripen Operating Costs at 4700 USD per flight hour are almost half of its nearest competitor, the F-16 Block 40/50 and less than a third compared with the twin-engined competitors like the Eurofighter, Rafale and F-18 or the F-35 predicted operating costs!.

This study was based on Military / Government figures (all aircraft), disclosed international fighter competition cost figures (Rafale, F-18 E / F, Gripen), manufacturer stated figures (F-35, Rafale, F-18 E / F, Gripen) and IHS Jane’s estimates (all aircraft).

The Operating Costs included: Aviation fuel, consumable supplies, operation and maintenance, unit level manpower, system improvements, capital charges, Depreciation and amortisation.​

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 Read the full story: Gripen operational cost lowest of all western fighters: Jane’s​

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A Swiss TV report recently showed scenes of historical and current Gripen factory in Linköping, reports a blog post in theAirpower blog​.

The TV report shows scenes from the streets of Linköping, probably to show the impact of the presence of Saab's (one of the largest employers in the region) aircraft factory in the city historically.

Read the full story and see the TV report:Swiss TV report shows Gripen factory in Linköping, Sweden

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During the annual Swiss Air Force flight demonstration on 11 October, the Gripen E/F test aircraft made its long awaited Swiss debut in front of thousands of excited spectators at the Axalp-Ebenfluh shooting range. Below is the link to a film  of the performance in the amazing environment.

Watch it here:Saab Gripen at Axalp​

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