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The Smart Fighter

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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 ...

a swedish way copy.jpg
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 ...

Option 01.jpg
India Today front page - Gripen.jpg

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.

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