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The Smart Fighter

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Getting it right.jpg
An authority on aerospace in India, Air Cmde (retd) Jasjit Singh, Director of the New Delhi-based Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS), in an article “Factors That Should Determine the MMRCA”in the latest issue of the Indian Defence Journal Vayu Aerospace & Defence Review and reproduced in the defence blog Livefist has said that “the choice that comes closest to the ‘medium’ multi-role aircraft that the IAF has been seeking since a decade ago (the Mirage-2000 type) is the Swedish Gripen IN which has maximum and empty weights at around 17,000 kg and 7,000 kg respectively, almost equal to that of the Mirage-2000.”

According to Air Cmde Singh, “Since the Mirage 2000 is not in the running anymore, this makes it necessary to focus on the aircraft type closest to the medium combat aircraft, that is, the Swedish Gripen and Lockheed-Martin F-16, with the EADS Eurofighter Typhoon included at the higher end. Gripen’s manufacturers could also offer some aircraft from Swedish Air Force reserves as an interim. However much would depend on what is carried by the aircraft in terms of avionics and weapons apart from its flying performance that meets our needs.”

The former head of the Indian think tank Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in New Delhi draws attention to the “larger issue that should receive serious attention: this refers to the other matter we set out to deal with, that is the impact of acquisitions from abroad on our aircraft industry in ...

eight-200x300.jpgSAAB, which is participating in contract for supplying 126 aircraft that the Indian Air Force plans to acquire, is bullish on the prospects in the Indian market, report Preeti Mehra and Ashwini Phadnis for the Indian Newspaper Hindu Businessline after meeting Saab’s CEO Hakan Buskhe.

“SAAB sees great opportunity to expand our businesses here. Not only for Gripen, but also other things. The importance of India for SAAB can probably be best gauged from the fact that in the two months that, I have been CEO, I have made two trips to India,” its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Hakan Buskhe told Business Line. Apart from the Air Force contract, SAAB is also participating in contracts in other Defence-related sectors, including civil security.

Saab CEO Håkan Buskhe is currently on a four day visit to India with deputy CEO, Lena Olving and Senior Vice President Industrial Co-operation, Andreas Von der Heide. According to a Saab press release, during their visit they will meet with a number of Indian Industries to discuss potential future co-operations.

The CEO told Businessline that  the company will look to increase its workforce here along with its Indian partners. It recently signed a letter of intent to set up an R&D centre with Mahindra & Mahindra. “We will set it up with partners like Mahindra and others. We are able to manufacture in Sweden to a very efficient way. What we are looking for is to increase the number of engineers. If ...

nine-300x230.jpgOn the 20th of October, Akaer released to Saab the first 3D model and production drawing of the Gripen NG in Sao Jose de Campos, Brazil, according to a Saab press release.

Akaer and Saab has signed an agreement last year for participation in the Gripen NG development program. The agreement was to lay the foundations for support to Saab’s development and production for the rear and intermediate fuselage sections, wings and landing gear doors for Gripen NG.

A team of Brazilian engineers from Akaer have been stationed in Sweden to acquaint themselves with the NG project to participate in the development and to learn about Saab’s requirements and methods in the form of technology transfer through ‘on the job training’.

At the same time, facilities at Akaer in Brazil were prepared and certified for the work activities related to Gripen NG development, including special security controlled areas equipped with advanced network systems connected with Saab in Sweden.

During 2010 the Akaer team participated in the conception phase including design, stress, tooling and industrialization. The activity migrated to Akaer’s facilities in Brazil along the year.

The technical package including the 3D model and production drawings released today was sent to Saab’s data bank in Linkoping, Sweden through a secure datalink.

Akaer is leading the T1 Brazilian consortium that includes Inbra Aerospace, Friuli, Minoica and Winstall involved in the development of the Gripen NG intermediate and rear fuselages, wings and main landing gear doors.

If selected for the Brazilian ...

Gripen Fires.jpg
The Swedish FMV recently conducted a so-called Safe-Separation firing from Gripen with the Meteor missile at the Vidsel test range. It was the first live-firing for the Swedish Integration programme, according to a Saab press release.  Gripen has been the launch platform from the start of the development of the Meteor missile.

The purpose of this test was to verify the model on separation of the missile from the aircraft. The impact from the missile exhaust plume on the aircraft engine was also studied. As an important part of the integration work the data-link was verified as well, says the release.

Meteor4562_360.jpgSaab reports that an initial evaluation showed that the missile separated from the inboard pylon station in a normal manner and the data link between the missile and the aircraft was activated. Temperature data from the aircraft engine was also monitored. The missiles flight was terminated as planned at a predetermined position.

“Saab together with FMV Test & Evaluation Department accomplished the campaign very successfully. Saab evaluates and analyzes the data gathered from the test firing together with the supplier,” the release quotes Michael Östergren, Project Manager at FMV.

With this firing the first of two phases in the Swedish integration is now completed. The first phase was designed to support the development of the missile while the next phase is designed to fully integrate the missile on Gripen. The final integration with Gripen for the Swedish Air Force has recently begun and is expected ...

Håkan Buskhe has only been CEO of Saab for one and a half months but he has already travelled the globe marketing Gripen to several countries. Mr Buskhe got his first flight in the Gripen fighter, taking-off from the Saab airfield in Linköping, Sweden, says a Saab release.

The flight, in a Gripen D  lasted for 1 hour and 8 minutes, with Ola Rignell, head of Saab Flight Test in the front seat. That included two sorties with a hot refuelling in between.

“I’m living my childhood dream right now, and the flight in Gripen was just the icing on the cake. I´ve been briefed by the engineers that design the aircraft, visited the different stages of production and talked to some of the fantastic people that build the aircraft and now I’ve spent time at our Flight Test department. And remember, Gripen is just one of our world leading products.”

Håkan Buskhe had the opportunity to pilot the aircraft himself. He was also fortunate to meet up with one of the brand new Gripen aircraft produced for the Royal Thai Air Force and took part in formation flying.

“What I remember most is when we were flying 60 feet above the Baltic Sea and then suddenly afterburner on and we were climbing straight up to 30 000 feet. Like a  rocket.”

Back on ground again Håkan Buskhe was congratulated by the first Gripen pilot, Stig Holmström, and presented with his own personal desk top model of Gripen D.

tweleve-300x140.jpgThe Czech air force with Gripen fighters have become the best tiger squadron of NATO at the prestigious international exercise in the Netherlands, reports Czech website

The 211th tactical squadron with Jas-39 Gripen won full membership in the prestigious club of NATO Tiger squadrons.

Commander of the 211th Tactical Squadron Jaroslav Mika says “Two years ago we had a trial member status. So soon it certainly never expected it, but thanks to the huge effort we have just seen.”

The elite club of the best pilots in the Alliance does not take just anyone. Full membership is usually preceded by years of work.  The Czech Air Force’s sole representative was the Tiger Squadron. Now with the Gripen, the Czech airmen’s success was compounded when they became the best tiger squadron and gained possession of the unique silver statuette of a tiger (Tiger Silver Trophy).

“The newly adopted squadron of Gripen only confirms that we have become a leader in the top flight of NATO,” said Air Force Commander George Verner.

During the exercises at the base of Volkel Netherlands, Air Force airmen have completed together hundreds of realistic missions.  The Tiger squadrons exercise each year involves 60 aircraft and helicopters. The pilots perform a variety of demanding flight tasks such as escorting helicopters with paratroopers over enemy territory in search and destroy missions as well as rescuing downed colleagues.

The training operation involves fighters, helicopter pilots and special reconnaissance early warning AWACS aircraft. The whole exercise is also ...

two-150x150.jpgIndian Journalist Vishnu Som, Associate Editor and Senior Anchor, New Delhi Television (NDTV) is the first journalist to ‘fly’ the Gripen NG Demo. In a piece written for Indian aerospace magazine Vayu, he talks about the experience of flying the Gripen, and other aircraft. Here are excerpts from his piece on the experience of ‘flying’ the Gripen and actually landing it:

“When executives at Saab-Gripen phoned me recently, I thought they would be inviting me to a press conference linked to the Indian Air Force’s gigantic 12 billion dollar MMRCA tender. All the leading contenders brief the press regularly on developments on the platforms which they have pitched to the IAF. Instead, I was asked, “Vishnu, we were wondering if you would be interested in flying a sortie on the Gripen NG prototype.” Straight to the point. Typically Swedish. No unnecessary talk about the Delhi weather. It took a moment for this to sink in. Quite clearly, this would be quite special, different in a sense from what I had done in the past. I was being offered a sortie on the only flying prototype of a state-of -the-art next generation fighter, a valuable asset not just for Saab-Gripen but a national asset for Sweden. In a few weeks I would be the first and, thus far, the only civilian, to have flown on the jet.

In fact, by the time the visit to Linkoping in Sweden ended, I had been allowed to land the jet twice from the ...

1264713690-300x168.jpgRecently Major Catherine Labuschagne, of the South African Air Force, made her solo Gripen flight at the South African airbase Makhado in the Limpopo province of South Africa. This promptly gave her a place in the record books as the first female Gripen pilot.

three-150x150.jpgThe South African Air Force created aviation history with one of the four South African Air Force (SAAF) pilots to successfully complete the first Operational Conversion Course (OCC) instructed by local SAAF pilots being a woman, says a Saab release.

The South African Air Force (SAAF) recently introduced its first locally qualified Saab Gripen fighter pilots during a solo flying event to be held at Air Force Base Makhado. The four pilots, three males and a first-ever SAAF female Gripen fighter pilot, successfully completed the type Operational Conversion Course (OCC).

Major Catherine Labuschagne, made her solo Gripen flight at the South African airbase Makhado in the Limpopo province of South Africa. This will give her a place in the record books as the first female Gripen pilot.

Major Labuschagne is one of several women serving as pilots in the SAAF and she previously flew the Impala jet before she qualified on the Hawk Lead-In-Fighter trainer to prepare her for the transition to South Africa’s front line fighter.

The four newly qualified Gripen fighter pilots will strengthen SAAF and the 2 squadron as they will reach operational status sometime next year when their conversion course is completed.

The SAAF in a statement says the “achievement is a milestone in the history of South Africa, the SANDF and the SAAF as this is the first OCC to be presented by local SAAF pilot instructors from 2 Squadron… The four newly qualified Gripen fighter pilots will fly solo to showcase the SAAF’s ...

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The South African Air Force’s (SAAF) growing fleet of SAAB Gripen fighters conducted about half the 51 aircraft intercepts conducted during the June/July soccer world cup. The SAAF deployed 11 of the available 15 Gripen during the month-long tournament as well as 12 of 24 BAE Systems Hawk lead-in fighter trainers, reportsdefenceWeb.

According to the report, Chief of the Air Force, Lieutenant General Carlo Gagiano alluded to the effectiveness of the Gripen radar saying “it was really marvellous to see the effectiveness of that and many low flying aircraft were considerably surprised by our ability to detect them in areas where they thought they could fly under radar coverage. The Gripen could pass on the data – via Link ZA – to the SCC so that intercepts could be vectored onto them. This opens up a whole new concept of operations within the SAAF and is something we will pursue down the line.”

Bayne noted that the air defence system recorded detected 65 non-compliant aircraft, including airliners, which led to the 51 intercepts. Nine aircraft were diverted. Police waiting at airfields took unspecified action against 43 pilots.

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