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The Smart Fighter

Quick Launch


​In the last week of October, the Gripen NG, the platform for the Gripen for India entered a crucial stage with the Gripen Demo aircraft making its first test flight equipped with the Vixen 1000E/ES05 Raven AESA antenna which includes elements of Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems’. The purpose of the Gripen NG Demonstrator Programme is to demonstrate the capabilities that may be included in the next generation Gripen.

gripenngdemo2.jpgThe Demo had been on the ground in refit for the last several months, during which time Saab integrated its AESA array, new satellite communications equipment and additional internal fuel capacity. The Gripen Demo has also added on the new electro-optical radar warning receivers and missile approach warning sensors developed by Saab Avitronics.

 The Demo airframe has now completed more than 80 flights since May 2008, and is being used to de-risk technologies intended for use with Saab’s future NG (new generation) production standard of the Gripen.

aesasashplatetechnology2.jpgThe Gripen NG platform has already been shortlisted in competitions in Brazil, India and Switzerland, and will equip the Swedish air force from 2014.

Selex says flight tests of its new AESA design, which uses a unique “swashplate” mounting to significantly boost the sensor’s area of coverage, will also support the technology’s possible future integration with the Eurofighter Typhoon.

The Gripen NG Demonstrator started flight testing again on October 27. Saab test pilots Magnus Ljungdahl and Anders Håkansson flew the Gripen NG Demonstrator aircraft to the skies.

The external changes, however, are minimal and ...

shivaroor2.jpgSo how does it feel to flying the Gripen for those in the media who did get the chance?


“You have control,” said Major Nordlander, and I acknowledged. I was itching to hear those three pre-agreed upon words that would put the jet into my hands. I throttled down to mil power and warmed up with a few barrel rolls to port and starboard.

The flight control system was super smooth, with beautifully actuated trim — no messy jerks, no abruptness, just seamless flight. I flipped the jet onto its back and pitched her nose down, flattening out against the sea. I pulled some quick soft-stop medium-G routines, and, aided by my pilot, some quick high-AoA manoeuvres. 

And then it was time to do what I’d never experienced before in three earlier fighter flights. I still had control. I was instructed to power up to full afterburner. As the dull roar of the reheat engaged, Major Nordlander asked me to look out for the very very slight pitch deflection that occurred when we smashed the sound barrier. The deflection was too slight to even notice. Or maybe the aircraft just cut too finely through it.

Whatever it was, in seconds, 14,000 feet above the Baltic Sea almost due south from Stockholm, we were cruising at 1.2 Mach. Watching the airspeed indicator on the HUD feed was exhilarating. We tore on at 1.2M for a ...

By Eddy de la Motte

​Network Enabled Capability

Data Link and Situational Awareness
The avionics and HMI in the Gripen allow connectivity with the operational picture that will be available on the future Indian Defence Joint network. The coupled navigation supports the pilot who can only supervise and be focused on the mission task, threats and the target ID. New data from the sensors is fed into the operational picture via the data links.

The Gripen NG’s onboard Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar can be used in role independent or combined modes when necessary to resolve targets in both Air-to-Air modes as well as SAR/ISAR/GMTI modes. The electro Optic/Infra-Red (EO/IR) sensors and an associated laser designator will be used when possible (weather permitting) to designate bombs and to provide damage assessments.

Gripen’s advanced EW Suite contributes to the SOB with emitter locations and jamming spokes on the Link net and the Fighter-Fighter Data Link (TIDLS).

The Gripen NG comprises a fully integrated data link capability that will meet the specified operational requirements. When fully integrated with the air and ground control centres, Gripen NG forms an integral part of the future Indian defence network.

The Gripen NG includes an autonomous fighter to fighter data link which is secure and jam resistant. This is designated the Tactical Information Data Link System (TIDLS) and has evolved from the experience of the Swedish Air Force system. TIDLS is independent of any network infra-structure and provides an autonomous capability for operations ...

eddydelamotte3.jpgBy Eddy de La Motte 

Beyond Visual Range Combat Capabilities

Gripen NG “See First – Kill First” capability – A combination of low radar, IR and visual signatures, along with the AESA radar, IR/Eo and sensor fusion, including world leading new generation weapon integration, ensure a high kill ratio in long range engagements.

A number of factors influence the success in long range BVR engagements.

The key Gripen NG performance parameters for BVR combat include:

  • Sensor performance
  • Ability to avoid detection (signature)
  • Supersonic acceleration and turn performance
  • Super cruise
  • Low signature
  • Fully integrated sensors, avionics and weapons
  • Range and endurance
  • The pilot’s situational awareness and tactical planning
  • Advanced decision support
  • A reliable interaction with other friendly aircraft via IFF
  • Identification performance
  • Long range BVR missile with two way data link
  • Advanced threat warning and self-protection systems

Combat effectiveness is achieved through a balance of these parameters. The low radar, IR and visual signatures and excellent radar performance give Gripen a significant time advantage to manoeuvre to a favourable tactical situation at supersonic speeds, thus achieving the earliest and most effective firing opportunity.

The Gripen has a fully integrated internal electronic warfare jamming system combined with chaff and flare dispensers for self-protection in the event of missile engagement. In addition, the Gripen NG have both a Missile Approach Warner (MAW) and Laser Warner System (LWS).

During an intercept, Gripen can engage multiple targets simultaneously with highly advanced active radar-guided BVR missiles. The world’s most advanced in-service data link not ...

eddydelamotte2.jpgBy Eddy de La Motte 

The Gripen Next Generation

 Gripen IN is the world’s most technologically advanced multi-role fighter aircraft with futuristic warfare technologies developed specifically for India.

Gripen is the first of the new generation, multi-role combat aircraft to enter service.

The Gripen Next Generation is designed by SAAB to meet the demands of current and future threat scenarios, whilst at the same time meeting stringent peace time requirements for flight safety, reliability, training efficiency and low operating costs. This is achieved through the cost-effective application of state-of-the-art technology, materials, integrated computer systems and advanced aerodynamics and sensors. The result is a fighter with highest levels of integration effectiveness and interoperability in a wide range of roles, low acquisition costs, minimal support requirements and low operating and through-life costs.

When discussing the continuing evolution of the Gripen system, it is important to remember that the ongoing Gripen Demo (Demonstrator) programme is just a stepping stone to the fully-fledged Gripen NG (Next Generation) design. The Gripen Demo aircraft will test and develop many of the essential systems and capabilities that will be applied to the Gripen NG, but all of these aspects will be further refined and enhanced in the final production form of the Gripen NG.Untitled.jpg

As Gripen NG is a platform for the 2015 timeframe, it is clear that many of today’s technologies will have moved on by the time the NG is available. For example, active electronically scanned (AESA) radar, communications, electronic warfare and weapons development ...

​Yep, for all the noise about Gripen’s AESA, its been there all the while and is now flying. Not only that, it is an AESA like no other because it comes with a Swash Plate. Which means it can swivel to cover a wider range.

So here is some stuff on the AESA for Gripen NG, off the swashplate:

aesa1.jpgSaab and SELEX Galileo are collaboratively developing the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar for the Gripen Next Generation (NG) programme.

 The wide radar experience from both SELEX Galileo and the Saab Business Unit; Saab Microwave Systems will be combined in the joint radar development program. The AESA radar will be based on the SELEX Galileo Vixen AESA radar using functionality from the Vixen program, PS-05/A and other programs from both companies.

Compared to a conventional mechanically scanned antenna, an AESA offers greatly increased beam agility allowing AESA radars to function faster and respond more rapidly. AESA radars can accurately track many targets while still maintaining watch for new targets at long range. They provide better discrimination of multiple targets and are less likely to be defeated by target manoeuvres. AESA radars are also more effective against small, low radar cross-section targets which typically pose a challenge to previous generation radars.

Improved Target Tracking

With the inherent beam agility, target tracking can be more adaptive and time efficient. This will increase the radar tracking performance in a dense target environment. This facilitates the ability to choose the right target for weapon ...


Saab has submitted an update on the proposal offering 36 Gripen Next Generation (NG) to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB).

The updated proposal fulfils all the requirements stated by Brazil to develop, manufacture, operate, maintain and upgrade an independent multi-role fighter, together with an extensive industrial package with full transfer of technology. This will give Brazil the opportunity to be involved in the development as well as to include a significant number of Brazilian suppliers in Gripen NG aircraft.

“This will be a perfect match built on complementing abilities and technological excellence. A commitment from Sweden to Brazil delivers independence and not dependence. The unique industrial offset package means a direct involvement for Brazilian companies in the development, production and maintenance of Gripen NG. This will create and maintain high technology work opportunities in Brazil,” says Saab CEO Åke Svensson.

The updated proposal outlines its advantages for the Brazilian Air Force and Brazilian industry and includes:

A comprehensive Technology Transfer

  • Full access to and complete involvement in the Gripen NG development programme.
  • Complete Technology Transfer through joint development of the Gripen NG, giving national autonomy and independence in the design, development, manufacture and through-life support of Gripen NG and future generation fighters.
  • Independence in terms of choice of weapons and systems integration.
  • Production in Brazil of up to 80% of Gripen NG airframes.
  • Creation of a full Gripen NG assembly line in Brazil.
  • Full maintenance capability in Brazil for the Gripen NG engine.

A unique competitive partnership

  • Brazil ...

thaigripen1.jpgThe first Gripen fighter for Thailand completed its maiden flight in Linköping, Sweden. The flight took off at 14:50 local time and lasted for 80 minutes with Saab test pilot Mats Thorbiörnsson at the controls.

In 2008, Thailand ordered a complete aircraft and command and control system from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) in a Government to Government deal. The order includes a first batch of six Gripen C/D with associated equipment and service, one Saab 340 aircraft equipped with Erieye radar (AEW), a Saab 340 for transport and training plus an integrated command and control system with data links.

The Royal Thai Air Force will start their training on Gripen in Sweden next year and the fighters will be delivered to Thailand in 2011.
Watch the video here.

saab1.jpgAn interesting write up on the genesis of Saab:

When Saab, Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget, was founded in 1937, its primary aim was to meet the need for a domestic military aircraft industry in Sweden. With the deliveries of its first aircraft, the light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft B17, Saab became the dominant supplier to the Swedish Air Force. Saab and the Swedish Air Force have progressed together through various generations of military jet aircraft, introducing world-leading technology every step of the way.

In the late 1940’s Saab introduced the J29 Tunnan fighter, which was followed in the 1950’s by Lansen and later by Draken (1960) and Viggen (1971). The first deliveries of Gripen, the first of the fourth generation fighter aircraft to enter service, began in 1993. In 1999 South Africa signed the first export order for Gripen. Since then the Czech Republic and Hungary have also signed contracts.

Military aircraft production led not only to commercial aircraft production but also a number of other businesses and products. In the 1940’s automobile manufacture began. In the 1960’s Saab helped to create Sweden’s computer, missile and space industries. In 1969 Saab and Scania merged to form Saab-Scania, a company combining aircraft and defence systems with the manufacture of automobiles, trucks and buses. In 1990 the passenger car division became an independent company, Saab Automobile. Since 2000 Saab Automobile is wholly owned by General Motors. In 1995 Saab-Scania was demerged into two companies when business and truck manufacturer Scania was separated ...

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