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The Smart Fighter

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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.

Having superior systems in your fighter is good but not enough. It is also very important to use these systems in the right way i.e. employing the right tactics. When systems become more complex, the possibilities to do something really smart increase – just like in chess. On the other hand, the chances of making mistakes also increase – again like in chess. For this reason it is of utmost importance to develop your Concept of Operations(CONOPS) in parallel with the systems. Systems and CONOPS must work together. And this is what Saab does with Gripen NG.

Air-To-Air – WISCOM Adapted BVR Combat

ppt4.jpgWhen facing an advanced adversary in a future air-to-air scenario, chances are high that it would become a fight for information in different frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum. In this situation it is important to understand that sensors and communication systems work in the same arena. They are two sides of the same coin and, if not used with care, can be exploited by the enemy. Within the Wide Spectrum Combat concept of Gripen NG this is recognized, and all electromagnetic emissions are looked upon as a whole, as parts of the same game.

In practice, this means that the group of Gripens enter the combat area silently in a randomly spread out swarm. No active emissions are used but all sensors listen passively, including IRST, EW sensors, and the highly advanced AESA radar antenna. This can be complemented with short and random active emissions from the AESA radar. Any data on enemy aircraft is shared with beamed data links, thus enabling ...

Ahead of the Slovak International Air Fest (SIAF Airshow), General Babiak, Chief of the Slovak AF, hosted a conference for the Air Chiefs from V4, Austria and Sweden.

All the Air Chiefs got the opportunity to see a very happy host after he stepped out from the Gripen Simulator.

During the weekend, more than 100,000 people could see, among other things, a Gripen display performed by Captain Holm from F7 Såtenäs.

The crowds at the Simulator were long with people queueing from early morning to closing time.


Top: Chief of Slovakian Airforce, General Martin Babiak in the Gripen simulator at SIAF 2012 in Sliac, Slovakia.

Bottom: Chief of Slovakian Airforce, General Martin Babiak with Swedish Chief of Staff Michael Bydén and Saab representative Robert Björklund.

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The final four Gripens purchased by South Africa would be delivered in mid September, says a news report inSAAF, the unofficial website on the South African Air Force.

South Africa had purchased nine dual seat and seventeen single-seat aircraft from Sweden in 2008 out of which all the dual seat Gripens and 13 single seat Gripens have already been delivered.

The final four aircraft were retained in Sweden to take part in Exercise Lion Effort in May this year. The aircrafts were towed by road from Kungsängens airport to the port of Norrköping on August 29.

They were loaded on the Aarchangelgracht cargo ship at the Norrkoping port. The ship is due to arrive in Table Bay Harbour, Cape Town in mid-September, from where the aircraft will be towed to the nearby Ysterplaat airforce base. 

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Swedish Air Force Gripens from the F 17 are currently taking part in the international exercise Nordic Air Meet in Norrland, reports Kent Löving in the Swedish Armed Forces websiteForsvarsmakten.

The exercise scenario involves a UN mandated force peace / ceasefire to primarily protect civilians, similar to the operation carried out in Libya last summer in which Sweden took part to maintain a no-fly zone, ensure an arms embargo and protect civilians.

The Nordic Air Meet (Noam), which runs from August 27 to September 7 involves UK, USA, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark and Sweden.  

There are almost a 1000 participants and a total of 69 aircraft including combat aircraft, refueling aircraft and fighter aircraft. Of these, up to 54 planes are in the air at the same time.

The bases used are Kallax in Luleå and Vidsel base in Sweden and Rovaniemi and Halli, Finland.Photo courtesy:Kent Löving-Försvarsmakten

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