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The Smart Fighter

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By Prof. Prodyut Das

The United States, Russia, Britain, Germany, Japan and France have a legacy of defence engineering experience that has transcended engineering to become part of their cultural heritage. To model our own aerospace industry on the imperious traditions of these countries is unnecessary, but the absence of such traditions must not become an excuse for failure. Fortunately knowledge has a sedimentary nature. What is the latest, best and top-secret today loses importance and then relevance and finally utility with the passage of time. Sometimes, hard acquired knowledge is found to be useless, sometimes it is irrelevant. There is also the matter of diminishing returns. There is thus no need (nor indeed the possibility) to emulate the heritage of others as a precondition to having our own healthy aerospace industry.

India must look at those countries which have less imperious a heritage in this context. Such search reveals that hoary and immense traditions are not a necessary precondition. It reassures one that what is important is not the latest and most expensive technology but fair common sense, honesty of purpose and accountability which yields world class results achieved by ordinarily competent personnel within a short time. Essential too is enthusiasm and zeal for the project on hand. Granting these few conditions, quite astonishing results can be achieved with limited resources: there is actually no magic though the results may seem magical. China, Sweden, Brazil and even Taiwan and Korea have demonstrated as to what can be achieved.We ...

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An enterprising supplement on the Gripen proposition for India hit the stands recently with a 32 page coverage of various facets of the Gripen Program and the future of fighter aircrafts. The supplement was carried along with India’s leading daily, India Today. ​

By ​gripenng1.jpgLt Col Magnus Olsson,

Swedish Air Force

The Next-Generation Gripen, or Gripen NG, is the successor to today’s proven Gripen C/D, an aircraft that is both evolutionary and revolutionary. Evolutionary because the NG is based on today’s in-service Gripen, the multi-role fighter ordered by five air forces worldwide. With over 130,000 flight hours behind it, Gripen has an indisputable track record for low operational costs and total life cycle costs that feeds directly into Gripen NG.

At the same time, Gripen NG is a revolution because it combines advanced technology and operational effectiveness in an affordable package that no other fighter aircraft can hope to match.

The Gripen NG takes the tried and tested elements of the Gripen design and improves on these. The new aircraft has a more powerful General Electric F414G engine with the ability to supercruise. Its redesigned airframe operates at higher weights, allowing more fueland weapons to be carried. A unique avionics architecture makes weapons and systems integration even easier and quicker. The NG operates with a fully-networked, fully-fused sensor and communications systems that gives it cutting edge capabilities for any mission, from close air support (CAS) to beyond visual range air-to-air combat.

Among the key missions systems that make Gripen NG such a formidable future fighter are its all-new Selex-Galileo ES-05 Raven AESA (active electronically scanned antenna) radar, developed in cooperation with Saab Microwave. The aircraft is equipped with a Saab Avitronics electronic warfare system that gives the NG a unique active ...

group_thai_swe_454x2531.jpgThe first three Gripen aircraft made for RTAF will arrive in Thailand in January 2011 and the remaining three RTAF Gripen are due in March 2011. The six Gripen at Wing 7 are expected to be fully operational around September 2011.

Gripen will be the newest and most modern fighter aircraft in Asia when RTAF bring them into service as the first country on the continent, says a Saab release.

Technicians and aviation mechanics responsible for maintenance and support of the aircraft, have traveled to the Armed Force Technical School (Air Force) in Halmstad. Later this group will continue their training operational duties at Wing 7 in Såtenäs and Wing 17 in Ronneby. Såtenäs is also the Gripen Training Center for Swedish Air Force pilots, as well as for foreign Gripen pilots. Training of pilots, technicians and ground support staff is a vital part of RTAF’s preparations for Gripen and much of this education is taking place in Sweden.

RTAF selected 10 pilots for Gripen training in Sweden. The first group of four pilots – Wng Cdr. Jakkrit Thamvichai squadron leader, Wng Cdr. Charoen Watanasrimongkol, Wng Cdr. Nattawut Duang Sungngoen and Wng Cdr. Puttapong Polchiwin – train in Sweden from March 2010 to December 2010, following a curriculum for instructor pilots, while the second group, six pilots, follow soon for approximately 5 months training.

The latter six will receive further training in Thailand after all ten pilots return home in January 2011 together with the three first Gripen ...

decoy1.jpgSaab is continuing along the road to fully defining — and will soon make an important supplier decision on — its next-generation (NG) fighter’s self-protection suite, reports Aviation Week​.

The Gripen NG will have a fiber-optic towed decoy as a baseline subsystem to help defeat radar-guided missile threats. A towed decoy is only an option on the current model, but the supplier choice is pending for the subsystem on the NG, says Eddy de la Motte, a Gripen’s Campaign Director for India.

Meanwhile, Saab is currently trying out different cockpit concepts for what the avionics setup should look like. That process also is expected to wrap up soon. Having completed two trial periods with the Gripen NG demonstrator, the aircraft will now go into a layup period to be modified into an avionics testbed. The aircraft is expected to return to flight next year, de la Motte says. The demonstrator so far has logged 175 flight hours.

072110_defense_saab_gripen_3151.jpgWhether it is a show fest at the FIFA World Cup or taking off on roads, the Gripen’s prowess has been on display on global stages in the recent past, from the ferry flight to India for the successful Field Evaluation Trials in high altitude to the South African Air Force jets buzzing the stadium at the FIFA world cup. At Farnborough, the Gripen NG was the talk of town with high level Indian and Brazilian delegations checking it out.

According to a despatch “Pitching the Gripen with Football and Tailhooks” from Farnborough inDefense News​, Company officials hope their jet wins orders in Brazil and India on technical grounds – Gripen’s highly integrated sensors and low operating cost – but they’re leaving few potential selling points unmade.

Says the report, both Brazil and India operate aircraft carriers, and so Saab has looked into making a naval variant of the Gripen NG, the next-generation jet now under development, company officials said. They said an internal look at the concept concluded that it wouldn’t take much to turn the jet into a carrier-ready aircraft, thanks to a sturdy airframe that is built to land on roads, not just runways.

“We are the road-landing experts of the world,” said Eddy de la Motte, who is running Gripen’s marketing campaign in India. Nordic concepts of operations call for the possibility of refueling aircraft on roads in remote parts of the country.

The Gripen C/D needs just 900 meters of 9-meter-wide asphalt ...


In the photograph taken at the Farnborough Air Show 2010 alongside the Gripen NG are Gripen India Campaign Director, Eddy de la Motte (2nd from left), Commander of Swedish Air Force Gen Anders Silwer (3rd from left), Indian Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju (4th from left), Brazilian Air Force Commander Juniti Saito (5th from left), Secretary Defence Production R K Singh (6th from left) and Air Marshal Sumit Mukerji, AOC-in-C, Southern Air Command, Indian Air Force (7th from left).

missile_a-darter1.jpgSaab has successfully carried out an important stage in the A-Darter missile programme with the first test firing verifying the integration between the missile and the Gripen aircraft.

The tests were held at the SAAF (South African Air Force) test area at Overberg, in South Africa. Gripen was chosen as the platform for these integration tests and has completed them with outstanding results, says a Saab release.

“The test firing is an important milestone in the Gripen program. The A-Darter missile is a collaboration and development project within the missile area between local industry, Denel Dynamics, South Africa, and Brazil, where Saab has a leading role for the integration of complex future missile systems. Denel Dynamics is the OEM of the A-Darter missile and have contributed significantly to the integration effort”, says Ulf Nilsson responsible for the Gripen program within Aeronautics at Saab.

The A-Darter is a fifth-generation short-range air-to-air missile to be used during aerial combat with the new generation of fighter aircraft. In South Africa it will be operational on Gripen and in Brazil it is the weapon of choice for the future fighters of the F-X2 programme.

“The A-Darter and the Gripen aircraft have worked beyond our expectations and we are extremely pleased with the test firing results”, says Magnus Reineholm Project Manager for the integration of A-Darter at Saab.

Beside the A-Darter programme Saab is also taking part in the Meteor missile programme, which also is an international cooperation between leading aerospace companies in Europe. ...

ngdemofin4541.jpgGripen NG Demonstrator will be displayed to the public for the first time outside Sweden. The event will take place in the UK during the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) in Fairford 17–18 July and the following week at the Farnborough International Airshow, says a Saab press release.

The fighter will be arriving in Farnborough on Monday, 19 July and will be on static display until Friday 23 July.

Gripen NG Demonstrator is a flying platform for the development of new technologies and features incorporated into the Gripen NG – the next generation fighter with significantly increased combat range and endurance, increased payload and super-cruise capability.

“The extensive flight test programme with Gripen NG Demonstrator aircraft continues successfully and according to plan at the Saab facilities in Linköping, Sweden. This gives us the unique opportunity to bring the aircraft to UK during the Swedish summer holiday break,” says Lennart Sindahl, Senior Vice President Saab AB and Head of Business Area Aeronautics.

Previously, the Gripen NG Demonstrator has only been outside Sweden once. This was in May this year when it flew from Sweden to India, where evaluation trials were conducted by the Indian Air Force. This demanding evaluation phase included operations at the Indian air base Leh, situated 3300 meters above sea level. During this time, the aircraft also passed its 150th flight and to date it has conducted more than 175 sucessful flights.

The Gripen NG Programme offers a completely new avionics systems structure which will guarantee over ...

tattoo1.jpgThree Gripen fighters, two JAS 39Cs and one JAS 39D, have added to the smorgasbord of aviation delights taking part in this weekend’s Royal International Air Tattoo.

Held annually each July at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, the Royal International Air Tattoo, the world’s largest military airshow, has gained the well-earned reputation as one of the UK’s top outdoor family events.

The Gripen fighters from the Swedish Air Force touched down at RAF Fairford after flying in non-stop from their home base at Satenas in Western Sweden. The aircraft belong to the Skaraborg Wing which is named after an old Swedish county, itself named after a well-known fortress just outside the city of Skara.

The Gripen will be shown off in the skies at the Air Tattoo this weekend.

This year RIAT will celebrate one of the most iconic moments in modern history – the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The Air Tattoo will salute the multi-national World War II pilots, referred to by Winston Churchill as ‘the few’, who fought off the aerial invasion of Britain in 1940, against all odds.riat.JPG

Dogfights, a stirring international flypast and a moving ‘missing man’ formation of aircraft are among a string of memorable set pieces being planned by organisers of the Royal International Air Tattoo and the Royal Air Force, to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in July.A wide range of historic aircraft, including Hurricanes, Spitfires and Messerschmitts, will join many of their modern-day equivalents for a ...

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