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The Smart Fighter

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A video of the Czech defence forces captures theBaltic air-policing missionof the Czech Air Force. The mission is a NATO air defence Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) to guard the airspace over the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.Within the Alliance, preserving airspace integrity is conducted as a collective task using fighter aircraft for Air Policing. Air Policing is a purely defensive mission. The Air Force of the Czech republic guarded Baltic states in 2009 and 2012 with JAS-39C Gripen jets.

​Bulgaria’s Defence Minister Anyu Angelov says that Bulgaria will need to buy eight new or used fighter jets for its air force in 2014, and that it might consider Gripen, reportsTengri News.

The purchase of new fighter aircraft has been delayed by Bulgaria till now because of financial constraints. The report says that Angelov rules out the purchase of jets from EADS or Lockheed Martin due to price issues but confirms that there is a possibility of considering Gripen.

"The possibility to buy new Gripen jets is still standing however and will be reviewed on an equal footing with the rest of the second-hand offers," Anyu Angelov says.

When the Royal Thai Air Force, RTAF, decided to publish a book that celebrates its 100 years of flying (1912-2012), they hired world class military aviation photographer Katsuhiko Tokunaga.

Tokunaga spent several weeks in Thailand this year flying with the RTAF aircraft, from old workhorses like C-130 to the brand new Gripen, shooting spectacular air-to-air photos and equally great pictures of men and machines on the tarmac at RTAF Wings all over the kingdom.

The result is a high quality paper photography book spanning over 176 large pages, with bilingual captions in Thai and English. And yes, there are plenty of great Gripen shots in this volume! 

Book facts: ISBN 9749752511, 176 colour pages measuring 300 x 220 mm. Book comes in hard box. Total weight 1.5 kilo.The book is sold at THB 895 in Asia Books stores in major Thai cities as well as online for slightly less from Asia Books,

Gripen users from South Africa, Hungary, Czech Republic, Sweden and Thailand came together to share their experiences of operational use of the supersonic fighters at the recently held Gripen conference in Czech Republic, says a news report inDefence Aerospace.

Representatives of the five countries discussed operational issues and maintenance, logistics and safety issues in the use of the Gripen and shared their varied knowledge with each other. The final document of the Conference called "Action List" represents a set of shared knowledge, information and the "know-how" for effective operational use of the aircraft.

"Individual users accumulate different experiences in operating these aircraft, for example, due to different climatic conditions. We share different experiences and information during the conference and found that some of them are very similar. After the evaluation, we can be better prepared for the challenges ahead, “says Czech Gripen pilot, Maj. Petr Michenka.

According to Maj. Michenka, one of the frequently discussed topics at the conference was that of "Aircraft Cross Servicing", which means situations in which a pilot would be able to prepare and leave an airport that does not have the appropriate technical support for the Gripen.

The Gripen User Group conference is held twice a year.

Photo Courtesy: Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic

The first days of the Czech Air Force policing of the air space of the three Baltic states – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – has been characterised by increased flight activity, says a news report in Czech Armywebsite.

The report also says that the QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) Gripen fighters succeeded in all cases; there were four starts against the violators of the air space already. As per the orders from the Combined Air Operations Centre in Uedem, North Germany, two Gripens always took off within the planned 15 minutes.

“We have chosen six Gripen aircrafts for the mission, out of which four are permanently deployed in Šiauliai. The aircrafts received a special anti-rust treatment and have been tested consequently in order to make completely sure that they are fully operational. We are ready for potential defects as we have brought several sets of tools with us, “says Major Radomír Holuša, deputy commander of the engineering air service of the 211th Tactical Wing.

Read the full story:  ALFA Already Made The Gripens Take Off Four Times

​Air Chief Marshal Prachin Jantong who became Thailand’s 22nd air force commander last month says he aims to make the Royal Thai Air Force, ASEAN’s top air force in the next two years, says a news report inBangkok Post.

"We anticipate the air force will have a leading position in the region within two years," ACM Prachin said.

The new Saab 340 AEW airborne early warning aircraft has already arrived in Thailand and an RBS-15 anti-ship missile system has also been installed. ACM Prachin said that the second phase of the Gripen project would start from next year with the arrival of three aircraft in April.  All 12 Gripens would be in position by 2014.

The Commander also added that he will work with the government through the Defence Ministry and the Supreme Commander. He emphasizes that the next important task is to repair the air force base Don Muang in Bagnkok, which has been damaged due to floods last year.

Read the full story: Prachin takes helm, aims for No.1 in Asean​​

Flying Cheetahs1.jpg
Also known as the 'Flying Cheetahs', the South African Air Force (SAAF) 2 Squadron, now based at AFB Makhado was first formed at Waterkloof in 1939 and re-formed in Kenya in 1940.

Gripen became a part of the SAAF Squadron 2 in April 2008. SAAF completed its fleet with the delivery of its final four Gripen C single seaters in September this year. The squadron operates all the SAAF's Gripens except the first Gripen D, which has been assigned to the Test Flight and Development Centre at AFB Overberg.

Watch the Gripen fly on a low level sortie mission:SAAF 2 Squadron - SAAB Gripen - 'The Flying Cheetahs'

“It was an existential experience,” says Carina Brorman, Communications Director, Saab after flying the Gripen last week, reports Swedish magazineResume.

Carina Brorman told the Resume that she flew the Gripen to increase her own understanding of the aircraft.

“It's indescribable. The coolest experience of this kind that I've been through. During the years I have tried some different things in order to understand the incredibly complex products that we have. But to fly the Gripen tops everything,” she said.

When Resume asked if she saw the plane any differently now, Carina said that Gripen has certain abilities that makes it a favorite among pilots. It is easy to maneuver and perform advanced movements and missions and she understands it better now after having experienced flying 20 meters above the water and then, barely 30 seconds later, to be up at about 9000 meters.

Read the full story: An Existential Experience​


The program of technology transfer in the area of aerostructures for the Gripen NG entered a new phase with the completion of the design of the rear fuselage of the aircraft and the start of production. Akaer is the first Brazilian company to participate in developing a fifth-generation supersonic fighter.

A group of five engineers from Akaer would be going to Sweden this month to monitor the production of parts developed in Brazil and start the planning for the next phase, involving the central fuselage design of the Gripen, says a post in the Brazilian blogAirpower.

Akaer is also responsible for the design of the wings of the fighter, which will be made of composite material. In 2009, Akaer was hired by Swedish Saab Gripen to develop parts of the Gripen NG.

"If the Gripen is selected by the Brazilian government, part of the production will be in Brazil. Akaer, however, has already been selected by Saab as one of the leading suppliers, enabling the company to meet all requests for purchase of the Gripen in the world,"says Kenzo Takatori, Marketing Advisor, Akaer.

Photo Courtesy:Department of Defense of Switzerlandand Akaer

Last month, the Swedish Air Force Historic Flight SwAFHF’s AJS 37 Viggen, J 29F barrel and the Hawker Hunter from Såtenäs flew at theJersey International Air Display, says Bert Stenfeldt in a blog post inforsvarsmakten.

The three aircraft, with pilots Stellan Andersson, Olle Norén and Lars Martinsson arrived in Jersey on 11 September, to perform at the Air Display the next day.

Organized by Jersey International Air Display A.R.L. on behalf of the Royal Air Force Association (Jersey), the Air Display aims to help raise funds for Forces Charities. The display was held at St. Aubin's Bay which provided a great natural amphitheatre for the display aircraft and also offered the spectators a wide variety of vantage points.

According to the blog post, the high points of SwAFHF in 2012 include AJS 37 Viggen (with pilot Stellan Andersson), flying for the first time on 27 March after 12 years on the ground. This drew attention and interests from aviation enthusiasts across the world.

“2012 has been overwhelming.  SwAFHF’s priority has always been to give the spectators, collaborative partners, agencies and members pleasurable experiences through seeing and hearing veteran aircraft in the air”, says Bert.

Photo: Jan Jørgensen /

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