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The Smart Fighter

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Saab has launched a newGripen IN webspacewithin its site specially for those looking up Gripen’s India proposition in the MMRCA contest of the Indian Air Force.

The aircraft proposition is simply put as being ahead of the pack in technology. As the site says, “Gripen IN will be the only aircraft that will be state-of-the art in technology and superior to other aircraft at the beginning delivery, and the only one that will be modern at the end of delivery.”

The aircraft is positioned in the context of India’s long borders and huge coastline that requires a very high degree of aircraft availability. Says the website, “India’s large airspace boundaries and its potential threats demands an air defence and air combat fleet that will offer operational dominance along its borders with five countries and a 7,500 plus kilometre coastline over the next four decades. The aircraft it requires should be able to deliver not only air power and air combat superiority but also logistical, multi-role and versatility in weapons and systems integration.”

Scroll through the sections that specifically puts together the India pitch for Saab and the focus is strongly on not merely the aircraft but enabling India into being a frontline fighter aircraft exporter by 2020.

To quote the site, “Gripen’s programme for IAF, Indian defence and industrial establishment will make India completely independent of the need to purchase combat aircraft from other countries and make it an exporter of aircraft like Sweden by 2020… Saab is ...

southafricaoffset1.jpgSaab, which has the Gripen NG as a contender in the Indian Air Force MMRCA program, has said that it could be better for India if the government looked at industrial cooperation rather than concentrate on the offset clause, reports the Hindu Businessline.  . Saab has is also said it is willing to transfer technology to Indian companies although the transfer will not be counted for calculating the offset commitment.

“We will meet the offset clause. But if Indian industry is to develop, then the industrial cooperation route is much better. This will help Indian industry be a partner with Saab say in developing the next generation of fighters,” the Country head, Mr Inderjit Sial said.

The Swedish fighter aircraft manufacturer, Saab will henceforth bid for Indian contracts only with a local partner, senior company officials have told the Hindu Businessline.

“From now on we will bid for Indian contracts only with a local partner either by forming a joint venture or through a teaming agreement. We will share technology and localise production. India will be a future home for us,” the Senior Vice President and General Manager Industrial Cooperation, Mr Andreas von der Heide, told Business Line.


The Thai Cabinet has agreed that the Defense Ministry sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation among countries using Gripen 39 fighter aircraft. The Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Air Force is authorized to sign the MoU, reports the National News Bureau of Thailand.

The objective of the MoU is to tighten cooperation in battles and techniques among Gripen 39 users which are the Defense Ministries of countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa, Sweden and Thailand.

DanielLaven.jpgThe Gripen Demonstrator, the development vehicle for the Gripen NG, has by now been flown by a number of airforces, including the India Air Force during its extensive trials in Sweden and India. Among the people who have flown the the Gripen Demo are Swedish test pilots who have had a close involvement with the program.

When asked about his impressions of the aircraft, Major Daniel Lavén, an operational test pilot from the Swedish Air Force Gripen Operational Test and Evaluation Unit, said, “This new version of Gripen will certainly not disappoint any user in any air force. The increased thrust, fuel, payload together with new sensor and weapon suites form an interesting package.”

Major Lavén  recently carried out his first sortie on Gripen Demonstrator as a part of the program partnership with end users. Major Daniel Lavén is one of Swedish Air Force’s most experienced Gripen pilots and has more than twenty years of flying frontline fighter squadrons, with the last ten years on Gripen.

With his background as a fighter pilot specialising in Air-to-Air combat, his natural enthusiasm for the new Gripen is self-evident.He believes that the Gripen’s true calling as an air superiority fighter stays uncontested even while being born to the the multi-role stable.

Says Laven, “I know the Air-to-Air arena and I know Gripen. I’ve been to two Red Flag exercises in USA with Gripen and I would say that there was not much in the sky that could challenge us in proper air ...


During a recent official visit to the Czech Republic, the Commander of the Bulgarian Air Force Major-General Konstantin Popov flew the multirole Gripen fighter, according to a Saab report.

Major-General Popov was invited by Brigadier General Jiri Verner, who is Commander of the Czech Air Force. During the visit they discussed the possibilities for bilateral cooperation and the use of modern equipment by the Air Force. Brigadier General Verner acquainted his colleague with the Czech experience of operating Gripen. They also visited the training centre in Pardubice where the Czech Air Force training programmes take place.

According to the report, “Saab is committed to the process of modernising the Bulgarian Air Force and hopes for a transparent tender for the acquisition of fighters expected in 2012.”

four.jpgThe decision to go ahead with the Gripen Next Generation (NG) fighter has already been made by the Swedish government, reports Aviation Week.

If Saab wins one or more of the upcoming fighter competitions — with Brazil and Switzerland among those closest to a decision date — it will affect the timing of Sweden’s own deployment of the Gripen NG, already identified by the Swedish military as the JAS 39E/F. But the decision to acquire the fighter is a done deal, according to the head of Gripen marketing and campaigns, Hans Rosen.

“Sweden has committed itself to using the Gripen beyond 2040,” Rosen said at Malmen Air Base June 12. “The question is when to acquire the Gripen NG, and how many.” The basic program calls for the new variant to enter service in 2017-18, but Sweden has told export customers that it will adjust its schedule so that Sweden deploys the JAS 39E/F before they do, reports Aviation Week.


The Gripen Demo is reaching a degree of maturity that is evident in the speak of people closely associated with the development program. The team got a big boost from the successful flight and in country evaluation in India that took the aircraft all the way to the heat of Jamnagar and thence to cold and thin air of high altitude Leh.

MattiasBergstrom.JPGAccording to Gripen Demo Programme Manager, Mattias Bergström, who controls all schedules, development and integration challenges as well as all key program partners, “The Gripen Demo is creating new frontiers of technology. The programme is indeed demanding but at the same time extremely interesting. We have flown over 135  sorties. Passing the hundred sorties mark wasn’t a goal itself but it proved the programme’s success. After completing phase 1 last year with its focus on engine, aerodynamics and performance, we are now working with sensor and communication packages.”

According to Begstrom, speaking late last month, “Right now the tests are focusing on the new AESA radar, Missile Approach Warners, Satellite Communication and new digital fast data links. Thereafter, we will continue the test programme with focus on avionics.”

If on the ground Mattias is happy with the progress, in air, Saab test pilot Magnus Ljungdahl is no less delighted while talking about a recent flight when he flew the Gripen Demonstrator aircraft in supercruise. The supercruise flight was part of the ongoing high speed supersonic testing that will include supersonic flights, with different load alternatives.

MagnusLjungdahl.JPG“The flight ...

eight.jpgPeter Nilsson, Vice President, Operational Capabilities at Gripen Marketing is very pleased with the new Gripen programme. He calls the Gripen NG as the ‘big stick’ fighter in a tight suit. In a Q&A for India, Peter talks about the Gripen IN and its promise.

Could you tell us something of the background of the new bigger version Gripen?

With more than 130,000 flying hours in five air forces we are now taking  the next step in the Gripen story. We are  keeping its unique capabilities such as short T/O and landing capabilities, extreme agility, digital cockpit, operational data links, minimized logistics and easy maintenance concept, and repackaging them into a brand new fighter.

What do you mean by saying “a ‘big stick’ fighter in a tight suit”?

We are putting in a new stronger engine in a newly designed structure. We are fitting the fighter with the latest technologies in terms of computer and avionics to support the next generation of sensors and weapons.

peter.JPGWhat does the Gripen IN offer?

For a large nation’s air forces, air operations demand longer range, endurance and payloads. The Gripen IN will certainly not disappoint them. With operational ranges and radius of action longer than our bigger competitors with equal number of weapon stations, it makes the new Gripen a ‘big stick’ fighter in a tight suit.

Why will the new Gripen be a success in the future battle arena?

With a balanced design, strategic reach, enhanced awareness and increased firepower, the ...

Silver_Falcons.jpgThe South African Air Force’s Silver Falcons display team will be wowing the crowd at the opening ceremony of the FIFA 2010 soccer World Cup alongside 2 Squadron flying the country’s premier fighter, the Saab Gripen.

“The SAAF will be taking part at the opening ceremony … and the world at large will witness a combined display from Silver Falcons and the newly acquired high-tech fighter jets – the Gripens,” the military says in a statement. “The SAAF is proud to be part of this event as it will contribute to a safe and secure event.”

The Silver Falcons operate the Pilatus PC7 MkII Astra.

The SAAF is playing a major role in safeguarding the month-long event and has deployed mobile radar as well as the Gripen, the BAE Systems Hawk Mk 120 light fighter, Astra and Agusta A109 light utility helicopter to enforce no fly zones around participating sports stadiums. Denel Oryx helicopters as well as Casa and Lockheed Martin C130 Hercules transports are on standby to provide airlift to police and special forces safeguarding the soccer spectacular.

One of the high points of the hours-long opening ceremonies for the 2010 FIFA World Cup is a fly past by the South African Air Force (SAAF), involving the Silver Falcons aerobatic team and three Gripen multi-role fighters.

SAAF Brigadier General Marthie Visser told Digital Journal that anyone who missed the air display would miss “a good show.” In a media release sent to journalists, the Department of Defence ...

GripenWorldCup454.jpgSouth Africa’s growing fleet of state-of-the-art multi-role Gripen fighters will be deployed in air patrols over Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Rustenburg, Polokwane and Nelspruit, which are hosting games, says a Saab Press Release.

The South African Air Force’s Gripens are stationed at 2 Squadron, at AFB Makhado in the Limpopo province. The aircraft were successfully deployed on airspace patrol missions during last year’s FIFA Confederation Cup soccer tournament, a curtain-raiser for this year’s main event. In addition, they have also participated in peace enforcement exercises.

In an earlier report, the Air Chief had laid out the SAAF gameplan for the World Cup. “The focus is on ensuring the airspace is safe”, Chief of the Air Force, Lt Gen Carlo Gagiano, has told defenceWeb. “We have a mix of aircraft because a helicopter cannot take on an airliner that’s diverting from its flight path. The light aircraft will intercept and order mavericks out of (no fly) areas, but if things look bad then you’ll have to send fighters.”

In order to prepare the SAAF and local civilian airspace users, the SAAF and the police held a number of exercises at each of the nine venues, under Exercise Shield. Gagiano says a further exercise is being planned. He adds “we must still negotiate for a little bit of additional funding because the air force will have the largest contingent (from the SANDF) deployed during the Soccer World Cup”.

The SAAF contingent, numbering around 2500 ...

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