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The SAAF received an additional four new Gripen C fighter aircraft last week, according to a report in an unofficial website on the South African Airforce.

Arriving on board the cargo vessel Achtergracht (registered in Amsterdam) on Thursday last, the four aircraft were offloaded in Table Bay Harbour this morning. They had been loaded onboard the vessel at the port of Norrkoping in Sweden.

The single seat aircraft, serials 3912 to 3915, were then towed the 8km from the harbour to AFB Ysterplaat in two convoys of two aircraft each. They will be made ready for flight at the airforce base prior to departure.

With all nine dual-seat Gripen D aircraft already delivered, these four aircraft will join the first two Gripen Cs that arrived on 11 February this year. The Gripen will play a key part in the air force’s plans to safeguard the airspace above the stadiums during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

The original order was for nine Gripen D dual-seat and 19 Gripen C single-seat aircraft. However, the order was revised in 2005 to nine dual-seat and seventeen single-seat aircraft. The first instrumented Gripen D was delivered in April 2008 and is based at the SAAF’s Test flight and Development Centre near Bredasdorp in the southern Cape. The balance of the aircraft is assigned to 2 Squadron at AFB Makhado in the Limpopo province.

gripen_demo.jpgSaab has received an order from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) to develop an avionics system for the Swedish Armed Forces’ Gripen aircraft. The order value amounts to MSEK 450, divided over 2 years, according to a Saab Press Release.

The order means that work will begin on a new avionics system, including new computers and displays, which will enter into service 10 years from now.

“Gripen is under continuous development. Computers with the best performance possible today will be viewed as inadequate for the tasks facing Gripen in ten years, when the aircraft must remain modern for a further twenty years. Few high-tech products have a service life as long as Gripen,” says Lennart Sindahl, Vice President at Saab and head of the Aeronautics business area.

The new avionics system will enhance Gripen’s capacity to handle large quantities of complex information with different security classification levels. A new avionics system also makes it possible in the future to introduce new sensors that require altered system architecture.

Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions ranging from military defence to civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents and constantly develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs.

three.jpgThe flight to India and back for participation in the MMRCA trials was a milestone for the Gripen Demo. As one member of the Military Photos forum reported, “A good day at work” was what a Saab employee working on the Gripen project said about the flight to Leh.

Vishnu Som, Associate Editor and Senior Anchor and NDTV, an Indian News Channel, and one of the Indian journalists to have flown the Gripen reported in his forum post:

“She landed in Leh. Switched off. Restarted 2 hours later as required after the team had a light lunch. She took off with 2 Iris T, and 1600 kgs in the centre drop tank plus full internal fuel.
Performance tests were conducted in Adampur. No problems. Indian Air Force pilots flew rear seat.
Gripen team basically said they would do whatever they were asked to do by the Indian Air Force. The flight down from Sweden also worked flawlessly. Remember … this is a highly evolved prototype … but a prototype nonetheless so there were clear risks for the Gripen team to be willing to fly this down. Whats been achieved is truly impressive. Not sure if she supercruised in India though IAF pilots did supercruise in Sweden where they flew her quite extensively.”

Saab in its official press release reported as much: Last week the Gripen NG demo was making its International debut by taking part in the last phase of the Indian evaluation trials for the ...


The Gripen Demo made its longest trip to date when it landed in Jamnagar on Monday May 17 after a carefully monitored series of hopping flights from Sweden to participate in the Indian Airforce’s MMRCA field evaluation trials.

The aircraft was taking part in a series of exercises, which included an early morning flight to Leh and trials at the Adampur air base. According to reports, the Gripen Demo made a perfect touch down, waited for a cool down of engines, made a smooth cold start and was off without a hiccup.

The Gripen Demo was not a part of the earlier round in India when two Gripen Ds went through a series of evaluation exercises.

The Indian Air Force evaluation team is among the first non-Swedish pilots to fly the Gripen Demo from the front cockpit. The IAF team has done a larger envelope of flying with the technology demonstrator of the Next Generation of Gripen in Sweden. The Gripen Demo was flown with a fully operational AESA radar.The Demo being a technology demonstrator, the aircraft is far more valuable given that it carries cutting edge next generation platforms.

To date, Saab has conducted about two dozen flights in India, including in Bangalore’s Aircraft Systems & Testing Establishment (ASTE). Among various exercises, the Gripen Ds also undertook air refueling. In Jaisalmer, the Gripen D did a weapons release test and the very demanding high speed, low level flying in extreme hot conditions. One aircraft was sent to Leh ...

Gripen has said that it will be extending the validity of the bid to the IAF as the date for renewal of bids for the $11 billion dollar contract for 126 aircraft ends today, April 28.

However, other contenders in the Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft tender have given media reason to believe that the costs will change significantly. Bloomberg’s South Asia Political Reporter James Rupert says that there is a possible $1 billion price hike in the offers of other competitors.

The original commercial proposals, submitted in April 2008, were valid for 24 months and the defence ministry was quoted as saying that it has asked companies to submit new offers or extend the validity of their earlier bids by one more year.

Bloomberg and web Journal Stratpost reports that Lockheed-Martin “plans to update its commercial bid to ensure the best possible value to India,”. Boeing is “working to provide a compliant response” to India’s request that it extend its bid.

Stratpost also reports that EADS says it would ‘respond in accordance with the requirements of the Ministry of Defense’ while Dassault has also not made clear if it would be sticking with its existing commercial proposal or revise its value.

The South African Air Force is to fit the fifth-generation A-Darter short-range imaging infra-red air-to-air missile currently under development at Denel Dynamics to its fleet of 24 workhorse BAE Systems Hawk Mk120 lead-in fighter trainers in addition to integrating it on to the 26 more sophisticated Saab Gripen C and D advanced lightweight fighter, reports the South African web journal Defence Web.

Denel Dynamics CE Jan Wessels says the new weapon, under joint development by SA and Brazil since March 2007 is on track and on target for delivery to the SAAF and the Brazilian Air Force from early 2013, now less than three years away. Wessels adds training missiles will be delivered from 2012.

Wessels says the A-Darter has now passed a series of development tests, the latest just last month. The test followed a series of programme flight tests where the missile had to fly a series of pre-determined routes, or circuits, “and it is very extreme, left, right up down, all the difficult manoeuvres. But it doesn’t engage a target. You are exercising its manoeuvrability. Can it pull the G’s etcetera. That was done by February,” Wessels adds.

“In parallel the so-called integration missiles that went to Saab. So they have in Sweden already integrated the missile with the structure of the aircraft, the mechanical integration of the missile with the aircraft and with the avionics, which is very complex on the Gripen. They conducted a series of flight tests where they flew with this ...

gripenbrazil.jpgThe Indian Air Force evaluation team has become the first non-Swedish pilots to fly the Gripen Demo from the front cockpit. The IAF team has done a larger envelope of flying with the technology demonstrator of the Next Generation of Gripen in Sweden and will be shortly arriving in India for completion of phase 3 of the flight evaluation trials.The Gripen Demo was flown with a fully operational AESA radar.

The IAF team had eight flights in the aicraft, and will fly it again next month. The Gripen Demo will touch down in Jamnagar on May 17, after which the IAF will decide on the legs of the trial that the Demo will undertake.

The Demo being a technology demonstrator, the aircraft is possibly far more valuable given that it carries cutting edge platforms. Consequently, web journal Livefist reports that while the Swedish team is confident about handling the field evaluations, there is concern over the need to ensure that the aircraft arrives safely.Gripen’s Inda campaign director, Eddy de la Motte, told Livefist that “We will be hopping it across from Sweden to India. We don’t foresee any problems, but it is after all a prototype, and we can’t be too careful.”

To date, Saab has conducted about two dozen flights in India, including in Bangalore’s Aircraft Systems & Testing Establishment (ASTE). Among various exercises, the Gripen Ds also undertook air refueling. In Jaisalmer, the Gripen D did a weapons release test and the very demanding high speed, low ...

five.jpgSELEX Galileo’s prototype of its Raven ES-05 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, the Raven 1000P, is playing a key role in the Saab Gripen Next Generation flight proving and demonstration programme.

The programme has been very successful, demonstrating radar modes in flight as well as showing the effectiveness of the SELEX Galileo and Saab team in integrating the radar into the weapon system and proving real capability in very short timescales, according to a Selex Press Release

Both air-to-air and air-to-ground modes have been integrated with great success and the expected performance has been achieved. Particular focus was placed on the air-to-ground capability and Raven 1000P produced excellent medium and high resolution SAR imagery at long ranges.

Trials will continue and capability insertion will take place at the appropriate points in the development schedule.SELEX Galileo, a Finmeccanica Company, is a key provider of leading edge sensors for the most advanced fighters. In recent months, SELEX Galileo has been selected by Saab to supply two key sensors: the Raven ES-05 and the Infrared Search & Track (IRST) system SKYWARD-G.

Raven ES-05 is a high performance, premium class fire control radar. Building on over 50 years of fire control radar experience, Raven ES-05 delivers greater performance and higher reliability than comparable mechanically scanned radars.With the Raven ES-05 and with the IRST, the Company will be guaranteeing the full mission effectiveness of the next generation aircraft Gripen NG.

ten.jpgWith the World’s biggest sporting event, bar the Olympics, getting underway in a little over a month, South African forces are getting into peak readiness. South Africa’s security forces will this week test their preparations for securing the FIFA soccer World Cup one last time.

The South African Air Force (SAAF) assisted by the police the SA Civil Aviation Authority, the Intelligence Coordinating Committee (made up of representatives of the various SA intelligence agencies), the Air Traffic Navigation Service and disaster management authorities, will conduct a national air space protection exercise, code-named Shield VI (6) between April 23 and 26, reports Defence Web . The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) says Shield VI is intended to test and verify the air space security plan to be implemented during the tournament as government has given certain security-related guarantees to FIFA for the duration of the World Cup, now just 50 days away.

The aircraft being deployed by the SAAF during Shield VI include AgustaWestland A109 light utility helicopters, Denel M1 Oryx medium utility helicopters, Pilatus PC7 Mk2 Astra trainers, BAE System Mk120 lead-in fighter trainers and Saab Gripen advanced light fighter aircraft.

Earlier, in February, Chief of the Air Force, Lt Gen Carlo Gagiano, had said. "The focus is on ensuring the airspace is safe. 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) ...

Vishnu Som, a defence expert and associate editor of India’s leading News Channel NDTV writes in the Bharat Rakshak forum:

“The Gripen Ds did sensationally in their tests when they were in India recently. The D restarted and took off from Leh with a loadout of 2.6 tonnes which included air to air missiles and underwing fuel tanks. The heat test went off very well in Jaisalmer. It meant placing the aircraft in the sun for a designated period of time, firing her up and flying her at maximum speed at low altitude while checking out all the systems. They also dropped a bomb flying out of Jaisalmer. They also did tanking ops.

And … no need to hold your breath any longer … the Demo will be here in mid May and will likely do the Leh trip again and anything that the Indian Air Force requests. They were earlier unable to bring in the Demonstrator because of tasking with the Swedish Air Force which happened at exactly the same time that they were supposed to come to India.

Indian Air Force pilots travel to Sweden in the next few days. They are free to fly the Demo there if they want though they will be firing an AMRAAM off a D platform.My sources tell me that Indian Air Force pilots loved the jet while it was here, particularly its man-machine interface and the intuitive nature of the setup …”

Incidentally, Vishnu makes it clear in his ...

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