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The Gripen fighter, being phased into service by the South African Air Force (SAAF), is already delivering on the promises made by its manufacturer, Saab of Sweden, reports Engineering News.

This was reported by Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) chief radar and electronic warfare systems engineer Francois Anderson.Although the Gripen is still in the commissioning phase and thus is still classified as a project and not as operational aircraft, the fighters were used to help provide aerial security, enforcing restricted flight zones, for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in June and July.

The Gripens, which are operated by 2 Squadron at Air Force Base (AFB) Makhado in Limpopo province, were, during the World Cup, forward deployed to Pretoria and to AFB Overberg (near Bredasdorp) in the Western Cape province.

“The pilots reported that the aircraft was delivering on the promises — carefree handling, seamless [avionics] integration, excellent situational awareness, ease of operations away from base, and quick turnaround times,” revealed Anderson.

Turnaround (refuelling and preparing an aircraft for a new mission, immediately after it has returned form a prior mission) times could be, it seems, as short as ten minutes.SAAF tactical planning for Gripen patrols during the World Cup was supported by the CSIR.

Campaign Director for India, Edvard de la Motte, or Eddy, is an aeronautical engineer who has seen the Gripen up close since its infancy when, as deputy chief system engineer of Gripen, he got involved in the introduction of Gripen into the Swedish Air Force. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed chief system engineer of Gripen. He can also articulate the quantum leap that the Gripen IN represents. As the next generation Gripen took its first long ferry out of Sweden to India for in-country trials, Eddy was there with the current generation of engineers who are taking the new Gripen at the forefront of fighter technology. Eddy’s passion for the outdoors which manifests in skiing and sailing, motorcycles and more, got a breathtaking new perspective when he witnessed the Gripen land in the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Leh Air Force base.

How does the Gripen IN fit India’s fighter requirements? 

India’s threat scenarios are such where it needs a fleet of aircraft that are quick off the ground, have more time in the air, are deployable in large numbers from even road strips, operate at the cutting edge of electronic warfare, pack a punch, are easy to maintain, have a technology shelf life over the next 40 years and have a low life cycle cost that keeps a large fleet operational.

The Gripen is all of that! Let me explain. The Gripen IN on induction will be the most advanced multi-role fighter in the world. Gripen IN is a ...

By Gripen Test Pilot Major Mikael Olsson

Executive Officer of the Swedish Gripen, Operational Test and Evaluation Unit ,Swedish Air Force

While others are talking about situation awareness, the Gripen IN goes beyond. Situation awareness (SA) involves being aware of what is happening around you to understand how information, events, and your own actions will impact your goals and objectives, both now and in the near future. Lacking SA or having inadequate SA in an air combat situation normally ends with a disaster.

While situation awareness is obviously vital for Net Centric Warfare and execution of combat missions, it is not the real key to success in the information-intensive battlespace of the 21st Century. It is only an enabler.


We agree with the fact that as a fighter pilot you need situation awareness to be able to achieve information superiority. However we do not agree that this is enough. Simple awareness is not enough.Saab’s Research & Development, which includes close relationship with operations, shows the need to be able to use superior knowledge of the battle space to make decisions and take actions that allow domination of the battle space.

This is where Gripen IN moves to the next level of information superiority:understanding and appreciating the battle space situation. We call it going ‘Beyond Situation Awareness’.

With leading edge sensor and weapon suites, Gripen IN allows the warfighter not just the ability to collect information in the battle space, Gripen IN also gives the capability to process, analyse and act ...

Joanna Sjölander, a car buff and mother of a three year old, is Gripen India’s in-country campaign director looking after the strategic and operational requirements that make up a campaign of this scale. Daughter of a Solidarity Union leader from Poland who was expelled during the days of the transformation that inspired and changed the world, Joanna’s adopted country Sweden has given her a deep appreciation of the value that

technology plays in a nation’s independence. Working closely with Saab teams from India and Sweden, Joanna is translating into reality her belief that a fighter aircraft sale is not merely about selling defence equipment but a huge opportunity for cooperation between the industries of the two countries.

Are you prepared to transfer all technologies and ‘know how’ (including source codes) to India, to ensure India’s independent operation of Gripen?

Yes, we will. Saab has proven experience with Transfer of Technology (ToT), having delivered comprehensive ToT packages to customers such as South Africa. Saab will provide ToT to not only enable India to produce the Gripen IN fighter indigenously, as required in the RFP, but also the ability to further develop the Gripen IN. A substantial part of the work associated with the manufacture of Gripen IN will be transferred to India.

With regard to offset, what have you proposed in your bid response?

Saab together with the Swedish government has committed to working together with India to deliver industrial co-operation programmes that are tailor-made to meet India’s needs.

Our ...

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By Major Hans Einert

Former Squadron Commander, Air Combat Development Unit

Swedish Air Force

First and foremost, the very raison de ’etre of having an Air Force is to generate air power to defend its nation and secure its interests. The Air Force concept of operations includes air operations from air bases, protecting those bases, working cooperatively with the other Services, allies, coalitions and security partners.

The very most important factor in generating air power is systems reliability and availability. Gripen IN is made for flying! While many other platforms require extensive maintenance to fly every mission, Gripen is designed and built to minimise maintenance times on the ground. Together with the fact that other fighters normally have a failure rate of just 2-5 hours between flights, the Gripen flies normally nearly eight hours between failures which allows a Commander having the Gripen with twice as much assets in the air compared with other fighters.

Extremely rapid turnarounds, meaning the time for refuelling and rearming between sorties, gives Gripen IN a leading position in generating air power. Ten minutes to refuel and rearm Gripen IN will not leave any commander disappointed! Ten minutes on the ground for 180 minutes in the air. No one can challenge Gripen on that, which gives the expression “Fighters do the no good on the ground” an entirely new meaning!

comm2.jpgNo one likes to speak about costs, especially not the competition. As a Commander, one unfortunately has to consider costs. In the end there is ...

futur1-300x160.jpgBy Peter Nilsson

Former Lt. Col. and Commander of the Swedish, Gripen Operational Test and Evaluation Unit, Swedish Air Force

One thing is certain about the future, which is that the future is uncertain! Recent conflicts have

shown that there is a growing complexity which put demands on the way to apply military power. Things one would not believe some years ago are suddenly standard operations. We have seen many new applications of Air Power in recent decades and nothing tells us that this path will end. New and improved technologies will enter the air power arena and we at Saab and Gripen, with leading edge thinking, are committed to keep ahead amongst the best.

future_gripen1-300x210.jpgIn 1957 Saab first introduced the data link in a fighter. Fifty-five years later, Saab still hold that position as thepremium creator of Net Centric fighters. In the Gripen IN, a future Indian Air Force pilot will not just be able to take part in the future Indian Defence Network – he will be that node which also makes other network participants even more effective by sharing and offering information and intelligence.

In the future network, we will not see just different platforms. In that network we will see different kinds of advanced missiles which will be exchanged between participants.

callingupfighter1-300x279.jpgSaab’s weapon data-link network solution supports joint operations and the precision engagement of moving targets through in-flight retargeting, handover between different users, battle damage indication and mission abort. Such implementations support handover of data-link base stations ...


By Air Marshal Philip Rajkumar (retd.)

End of the Cold War and breakup of the Soviet Union created a uni-polar world, with the USA assuming the role of the ‘world’s policeman’ from the mid 1990s. The situation changed with the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the USA itself and commencement of the ‘War on Terror’ in Iraq and Afghanistan. These wars, which have drained the US treasury, plus the economic crisis of September 2008, have however greatly limited the ability of the USA to continue in such a role.

India has meanwhile acquired economic muscle and could increase its military power for protection of its vital interests including those relating to energy security. The Indian Armed Forces are acquiring increasing capability to operate well beyond national borders to protect sea lanes of commerce from the Straits of Hormuz to the Malacca Straits. Protection of its island territories in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea also require attention.Continuing its long tradition of not getting involved in ‘power block politics’, India has to maintain its strategic independence and be prepared for a two-front limited war below the nuclear threshold against nations against which it continues to have territorial and border disputes.

The Indian Air Force will play a dominant role in this scenario and its combat muscle must assuredly be strengthened with new generation fighters that are affordable in relatively large numbers and available for rapid deployment across the vast sub continent. In other words the IAF needs both ‘quality’ and ...

meteor1.jpgJonas Jakobsson Experimental Test Pilot, Saab 

The European Meteor BVRAAM (beyond visual range air-to-air missile) is a game-changing weapon for the Gripen NG. Developed by a six-nation consortium, headed by MBDA and including Saab, the Meteor missile redefines the nature of air superiority in beyond visual range air combat. Put simply, there is no other missile in service or in development that can match the speed, range and lethality that Meteor delivers.

In fact, the Meteor was born from a joint UK/Swedish programme that later expanded to include France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The basic requirement was for a very high-speed AAM that would have at least three times the range of any current weapon and a greatly expanded ‘no escape zone’. The key to Meteor’s performance is its throttleable ramjet propulsion system. Unlike a conventional rocket motor, a ramjet sustains power to the very end of an engagement, allowing the missile to chase down and out-turn any aircraft. No matter how tight the target turns the Meteor will always be able to out-manoeuvre and intercept it. A series of flight trials, beginning in 2006, have already demonstrated the Meteor’s ability to fly well beyond 100 miles at speeds around Mach 3.

Every one of the live fire tests undertaken to date have been conducted by Gripens in the UK or in Sweden. As a result, the Gripen already possesses a functional ‘go to war’ capability with the Meteor missile. Gripen/

Meteor integration will be further refined and fully ...

syner1.jpgLt. Col. Peter Nilsson, Former Lt. Col. and Commander of the Swedish Gripen Operational Test and Evaluation Unit, Swedish Air Force

Normally two-seater fighter aircraft are designed as operational conversion trainers with the instructor pilot at the back and the student in the front. This is not the case with the Gripen IN. The Gripen IN two-seater is much more. It is a true Force Multiplier, increasing fighting capabilities. The two-seater is identical with the single seater in terms of avionics, sensors and payloads, so what you can do in a single seater you can do in a twin seater.

However, as to whom will sit in the back seat is up to the operator. Different customers

consider a wide spectrum of specialists in the back seat. Saab is building the back seat cockpit with a flexible approach. Some Air Forces will put a Mission Commander in the back seat to lead the strike package. Others will put an Electronic Warfare or Reconnaissance specialist in the back seat. Having a Mission Commander in the back seat commanding the fighting element is a very interesting concept. By adding the Gripen’s Network capabilities, we suddenly have the possibilities to share sensors within the fighting element.

Perhaps the most futuristic concept with the two-seater Gripen IN is the possibility for it to lead UCAVs (Unmanned Combat Airborne Vehicles). Saab AB will launch the NEURON at the beginning of this decade together with partners and one can be certain that during the MMRCA operational service, there will be ...

book1.jpgLarge, sophisticated and complex industrial  development projects always require that a number of technological problems be solved along the way. All advanced production is therefore surrounded by a “cloud of new technology”, so called technological spillovers, that are available to other firms in proportion to their ability to capture and commercialise them. Military aircraft development projects belong to the most advanced of these.

In a recent study, Gunnar Eliasson concludes that the development investment of the Saab Gripen has been returned to Sweden in the form of additional social value creation, or economic growth at least 2.6 times over. This is in creation of new industrial knowledge during a military project that has made additional civilian production possible, which would not have come about in the absence of the military project.

In his new book Advanced Public Procurement as Industrial Policy – The Aircraft Industry as a Technical University, Professor Gunnar Eliasson illustrates through case studies how this has been possible and how the new technologies created during the course of development of the Saab Gripen system, have been diffused through the Swedish economy and formed the technological base for new civilian production programmes.

book21.jpgGunnar Eliasson emphasises two particular circumstances for this positive outcome for the Swedish economy. First, he emphasises the role of a competent customer, in this case the Swedish military procurement agency the FMV for maximum civilian spillovers for each krona invested development. Second, he carefully elaborates the important role of local entrepreneurial or commercialising competences ...

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