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The Smart Fighter

Quick Launch


Turkey has officially launched a project to build its first national fighter aircraft, according to a statement on Tuesday by the Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry, or SSM, and the Turkish Aerospace Industries, or TAI.

The project also includes the design and development of a training jet, said TAI general manager Muharrem Dörtkaşlı.

“We are starting the project of developing a national fighter aircraft,” Dörtkaşlı told journalists at a meeting in Ankara, the Anatolia news agency reported. “Along with [state-run] Havelsan, Aselsan and Roketsan, companies from the private sector will contribute to the project.”

“This is going to be a national project,” Dörtkaşlı said, though he added that the country is looking for a non-U.S. partner to develop a second air fleet, as an alternative to its existing F-16s and F-35s to come.

South Korea’s KAI and Sweden’s Saab are the two possible partners, according to a senior Turkish procurement official who spoke to theHürriyet Daily Newson Monday. The undersecretariat decided to initiate talks with TAI to design a national aircraft and a training jet during a Dec. 15, 2010.

Turkey recently had separate talks with the aeronautical authorities of South Korea and Sweden for possible cooperation in the design, development and production of a new fighter aircraft in the next decade. “Companies that we have talked to are Korea Aerospace Industries [KAI] South Korea and Saab of Sweden,” the official said.

Most of Turkey’s current fleet of F-16, are being modernized by the Lockheed Martin, and future planned F-35s are available fromU.S. influence. Only their older aircraft F-4, upgraded ...

The Swedish Armed Forces blogcarries a snapshot of the life of the Swedish pilots flying daily over Libyan territory. Johan Brolin writes (translated from Swedish with Google translator) that the preparation for a mission over Libya begins the day before.

Late in the evening, the Swedish force is told about their task for the coming days. An ATO, Air Tasking Order, is the order that tells you which targets senior NATO Staff want the Swedish Gripen to scout.

Once the orders come in, the preparation starts. First they tasks are broken down into different priorities and missions are planned for mid-air refueling, altitudes, flight paths in and out of Libya.

In addition, planning is done for any requirement that can be assigned while the plane is in the air.

By the time the pilots come to the hangar, just over three hours before take-off, MSE, the Mission Support Element, has worked for most of the night.

Everything is prepared to effectively implement execution of the mission.

According to Pilot “Kiji” (not a real name), along with the MSE we use about 90 minutes to plan and carry out the command of the mission for the same. Planning for the mission is extensive. This clarifies the times when we will be air refueling and from which aircraft, what goals we should shoot, how we behave if we have to shoot us out, the code words that apply today and what the threat looks like.

A final review of the ...


A Gripen Ad that appeared on the August 15 edition of the Indian magazine India Today,

Gripen C.jpg
Sweden’s five Gripens taking part in NATO operations over Libya generate 37% of the reconnaissance reports for Operation Unified Protector, says a report in Defence Web. Eight single-seat JAS 39 Gripens at the start of April helped patrol the no-fly zone. The Swedish Government has not sanctioned ground attacks except in defence and the aircraft have been limited to reconnaissance roles.

“If there is a special target that NATO is interested in, they prefer the Swedes to perform the mission. This makes me a little bit proud,” Fredrik Bergman, commander of the Swedish air force unit, told Svenska Dagbladet.

With their reconnaissance pods, the Gripens can, from a height of 7000 metres, detect individual people. As soon as a Gripen returns from a mission, a group of technicians download all the digital photos, which are sent to NATO commanders within a few hours.

FL 02 Commander Fredrik Bergman said the performance of the Gripens in the four-month operation was impressive since they only had around a quarter of the regular maintenance resources available.

In the last days of July, the Gripen clocked past the 1000 flight hour mark in Libya. Writing in hisblog, FL 02 Commander Fredrik Bergman says that the performance in the four-month operation was impressive since they were supported by just about one-fourth of the regular aircraft maintenance resources. 

According to Bergman, “I met personally COM CJTF, COM CFAC and the CAOC Director, and their overall opinion is that Sweden’s contribution in Operation Unified Protector is of extremely high quality. Our reconnaissance image quality, high precision analysis and fast delivery impresses our clients.”


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The Gripen engine change procedure famously beat the hour during the Indian Air Force trials for the MMRCA. A recent requirement in Sicily for an engine change for a Swedish Air Force JAS 39 demonstrated how the aircraft manages to clock in a changeover time of a couple of hours even in the most complex of situations and the ribbing among engineers that happens when it takes a little more. For an aircraft that commits itself to availability, the Sicily episode was yet another confirmation of the commitment.

Here are some excerpts from the action on the ground from the Swedish Air Force from a write up byJohan Brolin(Google translate has been used for translating the story).

“Thursday, July 14 technicians said that an engine change on one of the JAS planes in Sicily had to be implemented. On Friday night at 20:15, the new engine arrived in a C-130 Hercules.  Activity began immediately after the engine arrived in order to have the plane with the replacement engine in operation at the earliest. It’s incredibly impressive to see, and one can almost feel the energy that exists among the staff around the plane during the engine change.

When the job was finished at midnight and it was found that the work took about three hours, ie little longer than normal, the staff jokingly agreed that it was partly due to the boss who had taken part!

After an engine change, a trial run of the engine is ...

Photo taken over the Phi PHi Islands, Thailand by Weeranat Thanakitjanon,

Earlier this month, the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) officially declared its new air defence system consisting of the Gripen fighter and Saab 340 Erieye AEW operational.

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During a ceremony on July 8, 2011 the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) officially declared its new air defence system consisting of the Gripen fighter and Saab 340 Erieye AEW operational. The ceremony took place at the Wing 7 base in Surat Thani, according to a Saab release.

In 2008, an agreement was signed between FMV, Sweden’s Defence Materiel Administration and the RTAF for the delivery of six Gripen C/D multi-role fighter aircraft to replace its outgoing F-5 aircraft. The order also included one Saab 340 Erieye AEW, a single Saab 340 for transport purposes and a ground based Command- and Control system. A further batch of six Gripen C fighters and another Saab 340 Erieye AEW was ordered in 2010. Deliveries of the second RTAF order will be completed in 2013.

The training of Thai personnel began in 2009. Four pilots and 20 technicians were trained by the Swedish Armed Forces (SwAF). In 2010 they were back in their home country and were ready to receive the delivery of the first batch of aircraft. The first Saab 340 Erieye AEW and the Saab 340 transport aircraft arrived in December 2010, and the first batch of six Gripen fighters was flown from Sweden to Thailand in February 2011.

Since the deliveries of the first batch of aircraft, a second batch of Thai Gripen pilots and technicians has graduated from their training in Sweden.

Ten technicians have been trained in Sweden for a year and graduated in June 2011. The ...

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