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The Gripen Demonstrator for the future Gripen NG returned to the skies in mid-May 19 with new avionics and displays. On May 19 the Gripen NG demonstrator aircraft flew with new avionics for the first time. At this stage of flight testing, after almost 200 flights, an open system architecture avionics system that separate flight critical from mission critical functionality is integrated in the aircraft. Also integrated are new Tactical Mission Computers, Ethernet networks and new Rockwell Collins displays.

 “What we’re doing now with the avionics is a much bigger step than achieving supercruise with the Demo,” Peter Nilsson, Saab’s head of air domain, told Flight Global. According to the report, following the completion of avionics testing later this year, the NG will be equipped with Selex Galileo’s ES-05 Raven AESA radar.”The next aircraft will be coming in October 2013, and is being built from scratch as an NG,” says Nilsson. This will bring a new look for the Gripen, with a longer fuselage, increased wingspan and new engine inlets.

The Gripen has also completed 160,000 flight hours during its mission over Libya. Since April 2 eight Gripen fighters, based at the Sigonella air base in Sicily, are flying daily reconnaissance and air supremacy missions. So far more than 300 recce missions have produced over 80 000 photos.

Hakan Buskhe, Saab’s CEO, has maintained at the Paris Air Show that it has not given up its efforts to sell the Gripen fighter jet to India, despite not being invited to extend its commercial offer.

“We are monitoring the situation, and we have not packed up our things and left,” Hakan Buskhe told journalists at the Paris Air Show today. “We have an extremely good aircraft and we have not given up.”

Saab also says that it is quite comfortable with the situation in Brazil where a decision has been postponed.

Buskhe said his company stands to benefit from government cuts to defense spending because they force armies to review the equipment and contracts they have, opening an avenue for companies such as Saab to establish new orders.

“It may sound strange, but the defense cuts are beneficial to us,” Buskhe said at the press briefing. “When money is not an issue, you don’t change habits.”

The Gripen Czech Offset Program annual performance report for the year ending December 31, 2010 has reported that a cumulative value of 23.74 billion CZK (About US $1.37 billion) has been delivered to the Czech Republic.

The report, which has been approved by the Czech Ministry of Defence, documents the annual fulfilment of the Program of Industrial Cooperation accompanying the lease of 14 Gripen fighter aircraft to the Czech Republic by the Swedish Government.

2010 highlights:

- Cumulative value of 23.74 billion CZK delivered as of December 2010

- 93% of total offset obligation to the Czech Republic delivered

- 2010 offset transactions valued at 3.82 billion CZK

- 48 registered Gripen offset transactions as of December 2010

- On target to deliver total offset obligation of 25.545 billion CZK

“As at December 31, 2010 the total percentage of fulfilment amounts to 93% of the obligation. The Program is in compliance with the approved and signed terms of the Offset Agreement,” says Rudolf Blazek, Deputy Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic.

Czech Gripen Offset ProgramGripen International is contractually committed to generate Offset and Industrial Cooperation to a value equal to 130% of the Gripen fighter lease contract value, which represents 25.545 billion CZK.

The Offset Agreement requires a minimum direct Offset equalling 20% of the total Offset Agreement value (direct Offset refers to transactions in the defence, aerospace and security sectors). The Offset Program runs from June 14, 2004 to December 31, 2014.

Source:  Gripen Offset Program ...

GRipen NG.jpg
The Indian MMRCA program is not a closed chapter for Saab which intends to “wait and see” how the developments progress.  A report by Craig Hoyle inFlight Global quotes Saab CEO Hakan Buskhe attributing New Delhi’s “rather surprising decision” to concerns over the developmental status of  the Gripen NG. According to Buskhe, saying, “We were not selected – at least not yet.”  He said “what we can do is give them our explanation if we feel they have misjudged something”.

The report quotes Buskhe saying: “We have a list of things that they have some questions about, and we have been looking at those.” With extended bids from the remaining contenders valid only until late December, Saab has decided to maintain a presence in support of the campaign in India. “We will wait and see,” said Buskhe.

If the concern of the IAF was on the ‘development status’ of the NG, it seems to be well on its way to flying a  prototype with the new avionics system in a few weeks time and a new-build Gripen NG in 2012.

Bill Sweetman writing inAviation Week, says “Stealth, meanwhile, appears to be the hallmark of Gripen development, in that it is moving forward under a shroud of non-publicity. Sweden has taken the strategic decision to retain a small but capable air force, which will be based on Gripen until at least 2040. The only currently planned route to that goal is through the JAS 39E/F Gripen NG.

Libyan Mission.jpg

“Just announced our continued contribution to NATO Libya ops. Five Gripen for reconnaissance support to all activities. Unique capabilities.” That’s what Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt tweeted to report the continuance of Gripen’s duty over Libya.

Sweden will remain part of the NATO-led operation in Libya and contribute jet fighters to ongoing reconnaissance operations. Foreign Minister Carl Bildt after securing support from two the opposition parties said, ‘It is necessary to maintain military pressure to speed up political change.’

Sweden, which is not a member of NATO, has since April contributed eight JAS Gripen jet fighters to help patrol a no-fly zone approved by the United Nations Security Council. The Swedish mission, which excludes using the aircraft to attack targets on the ground, was set to expire June 22. According to the new agreement, three jet fighters are to be withdrawn, while five remain. The planes could also provide information about refugee flows or ship movements, Urban Ahlin of the Social Democrats said. Asa Romson of the Greens said there was a need to continue to protect civilians in Libya and fund humanitarian agencies.



Photographs: Sgt Johan Lundahl/Combat Camera and FL 01/Försvarsmakten

Photo courtesy:Swedish Armed Forces Website​

More photos from FL 01 daily missions over Libyan territory. The picturesshow the Libyan anti-aircraft system SA-2. The systems currently look to be not operational but the Swedish Air Force says that the Libyan regime constantly changes the status. 


According to the Swedish Air Force blog, there are anti-aircraft missiles within the perimeters of Tripoli and many are transported on trailers. Often, some of them are kept close to civilian settlements. The photograph above shows a trailer just outside the wall of a residential area.


FL 01 Commander Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Wilson has on theSwedish Air Force blogpublished another photo showing the airport in Misrata. FL 01 has so far delivered about 70,000 photos to Nato, says Wilson. He points out that the photograph shows operational Libyan aircraft.

According to Wilson, FL 01 activities that deal with the no-fly zone (NFZ) over Libya has been continuing with unchanged momentum. The daily missions of the NATO attempt to determine whether, and if so how, either the Libyan regime or the rebels can fly, fly or have flown.According to Wilson, “At one of these missions we flew over Misrata airfield. This controlled for some time by the rebels but they have as little right as the Libyan regime to fly with their resources. In the photo above you can see the aircraft at the time was at the base.”

Says Wilson in the blog, “For those readers who appreciate the comparison of images FL 01 in comparison to that delivered by other actors, I recommend that you look closely at the planes that are presented on the plate to the left. These have over time fluctuated both in numerical force, type and operational status.

Anearlier write up​on the blog noted that the airspace over Libya was closed and it was the NATO-led coalition’s goal to ensure that it remains so. The only aircraft allowed by the coalition were those that deliver relief supplies to civilians in Libya.

The first flight of the JAS ...

From first flight on April 7 through Thursday, May 12,FL-01 has completed 104 missionsin the Libyan operation. About 65 000 pictures have been taken.

Every day there are flights from the NATO-led coalition in the air to protect civilians in Libya, to monitor the arms embargo enforced and to ensure that there is no breach of the no-fly zone, says the Swedish Armed Forces.  FL 01 carries out reconnaissance missions and photographs objects or activity that can threaten the no-fly zone, ranging from anti-aircraft positions at air bases to missile trailers.

According to a pilot, flying is risky, specially as there are threats from the ground. Coalition aircraft have been “lit up” from time to time. “Illumination” of the aircraft by air defense system means that there is someone with a system, such as a radar, trying to find the aircraft in the air. The aircraft’s warning system “lights up” warning of a potential radar lock which, if successful, may lead to the firing of a missiles against the aircraft. That in itself is a threat to a no-fly zone. therefore it is important to find and photograph these threats.

The FL 01 has now flown over a hundred missions and all ten pilots in the unit have flown ten missions.

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