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Swedish Air Force Gripens are currently participating at one of the biggest NATO exercises called Trident Juncture 18 in Norway.

Military forces from more than 31 countries are participating in the exercise. the exercise is aimed at increase interoperability amongst NATO nations and member countries and prepare for uncertain threats.

During the exercise, the Swedish pilots will fly four Gripen fighters two to three times a day. During the exercise, there are times when about a hundred aircraft are in the air. Therefore a lot of planning a rehearsals are a part of the Trident Juncture exercise.

"We are here to develop our ability to cooperate with other countries, mainly with the United States and Finland. It is all about practicing military strategy. We are mostly acting in the air defense role, and also in the field control role, which will come in later in the exercise, "says Swedish Division Manager Joakim Saviniemi.

Read the full story here.

Photos: Louise Levin, Jerry Lindbergh/Försvarsmakten

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​Defence From Above

Since 2006, the Hungarian Air Force Gripen have tirelessly protected their skies from wing MH59, Kecskemét.

To download the calendar, click here​.

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Denel Dynamics' fifth generation air-to-air missile A-Darter, which has previously been integrated with the South African Air Force Gripen, has completed its final qualification tests, reports Defence Web.

"All that is left is paperwork, which I expect to be completed by April next year," Japie Maré, Denel Dynamics A-Darter Progamme Manager said.

A-Darter is a short-range air-to-air missile to be used during aerial combat. It has the capability to lock on to a target even after launch, making sure the target aircraft's sensors don't see it coming. 

Successful A-Darter Missile firings with South African Gripen were first conducted in 2010, verifying the integration between the missile and the Gripen aircraft. As a part of the test, the missile was fired 22 times from Gripen excluding six “fire clearance” missile launches. Ever since, several verification tests have been successfully completed. In September this year, A-Darter cleared guided missile qualification tests.

According to Mare, A-Darter could be launched at a target at right angles to it and more (180 degrees) to the fighter aircraft. “If you can still see the target, you can launch it. We’ve done some of those launches; it’s almost like an over-the-shoulder shot,”  he says.

Read the full story here.

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When it comes to efficient development, Gripen E leads by examples. From model based development to segregated avionics, several prcendents have been set. And now, in an effort to make the Gripen E development even more fficient, Saab, the Swedish Armed Forces, and the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) re now carrying out joint validation and verification of the combat aircraft system.

In the development of earlier versions of Gripen, validation and verification was generally carried out consecutively. To perform joint verification in which the three parties participate from the outset results in greater sophistication and efficiency in operations. The number of repeat tests is reduced and any measures that need to be implemented are recognised earlier.

- I am very happy over the enhanced co-operation between Saab, FMV and the Swedish Armed Forces. I believe this is the key to success and for delivery in time and in line with what is agreed with the customer. We will continue to develop and strengthen our co-operation for further efficiency in the programme, says Jonas Hjelm, head of Saab business area Aeronautics.

Sweden's most important industrial project?

"Joint testing affords us an opportunity to collaborate with industry at an even earlier stage of development. This reduces the risk of late and expensive reworking in the development programme. Moreover, this is perhaps Sweden's largest and most important industrial project, and it's at the cutting-edge of technology. And for this reason it is, of course, also very exciting ...

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The first Gripen E test aircraft, 39-8 jettisoned one external fuel drop tank and fired an IRIS-T air-to-air missile this month at Vidsel Test Range in the north of Sweden.

These tests are the latest steps in the Gripen E flight test programme preceded by the carriage trials in July and form part of the weapon integration work.

“As a pilot, flying with external stores such as drop tank and missiles is important to allow for evaluation of how the aircraft behaves with the stores attached. This test was also used to evaluate the effect of releasing and launching the stores on the aircraft. The highlight was of course to pull the trigger and watch the missile fire away. It also brings us closer to making the aircraft ready for its operational use”, says Marcus Wandt, Experimental Gripen Test Pilot at Saab.

Gripen E's first prototype flew its debut flight in June 2017. Since then, the Gripen programme is on track. In October 2017, Gripen E prototype went supersonic for the first time. The next two prototypes 39-9 and 39-10, have already left the production line at Linkoping, and are currently undergoing verification ahead of their first flights, which is scheduled for 2019.

Read the full story here.

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Saab's technology transfer programme is not special just for the Brazilian engineers, many Swedish engineers have also started feeling at home in Gavião Peixoto.

The way Sweden has been a different experience for the Brazilian engineers, in terms of weather and work culture, the Swedish professionals have had their enriching experiences as well. For example, Peter Kronkvit, a software architect at Saab, began to learn Portuguese before applying for the position in Brazil. He joined the GDDN team to help the new team understand the system and adapt the technologies. 

“I have been involved in Gripen much before the development of model E began. Our efforts are to implement the system information and data for professionals here in Brazil. In addition, we have developed the on-board computer system with the support and commitment of the AEL team. We are all very involved with this project and we know that we are dealing with very capable professionals, who do things very well and very quickly,” he says

The Brazilian Gripen programme began in 2013 when Brazil announced the selection of the Swedish fighter. The contract was signed in October 2014 and the technology transfer process began in 2015. The last Gripen fighter is scheduled to be delivered in 2024, and by then, more than 350 engineers and technicians from both countries would have experienced this exciting journey of learning and developing the smartest fighter in the world in a unique, collaborative manner. 

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Here is one more Gripen fun fact for you to chew on.​

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“Saab's Gripen is the best option for Philippines in terms of price and capability,” said Delfin Lorenzana, Secretary of National Defense of the Philippines.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Lorenzana said this inclination is a result of a lot of research on the requirement and options available. Lorenzana also stressed on the need for new fighters in Philippines.

“The acquisition of multi-role jetfighters is badly needed to protect the country’s airspace,” he said.

According to Lorenzana, cost will be an important factor while making the final decision. "The F-16 supersonic jet fighter interceptors are more expensive in comparison to the Gripens," he said.

Earlier this year, President Rodrigo Duterte had approved the MRF (Multi-Role Fighter) acquisition in principle, building a momentum around the programme.

Saab has been in dialogue with the Phillipine Air Force for several years now. Based on the discussions with PAF's technical working group, Magnus Hagman, Campaign Director, Gripen and airborne systems, had told the press at the recently held ADAS 2018 exhibition that Gripen C/D with MS20 upgrade and Mk4 radar should be the perfect fit for the Philippine Air Force.

PAF currently operates F-50 jets that were purchased from South Korea.

Read the full story here.

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During a real life complex mission, every second counts. A pilot has to take split-second decisions on aircraft handling, approaching threats, deployment of his own counter-measures and a bunch of information coming in from sensors, radars and data feeds from other aircraft. The decisive difference is made by man-machine interface. A Gripen E  pilot is provided with suggestions ranging from weapon selection to aircraft handling while getting an optimized overview of the battle space along with tactical information presented in a user-friendly manner. The pilot will see only what he needs and nothing else.​

“A good human machine interface is hardly noticed by the user. The interaction between the pilot and the fighter comes naturally," says Karinna Wandt, Technical Manager for HMI at Saab.

“The Human Machine Interface has evolved over the years. Today, a two year old, without any training, can easily interact with a tablet. With technology, we have access to a large amount of data, both user and system generated. By using machine learning techniques, we can cluster and analyse this data and turn it into valuable information.”

According to Karinna, the major challenge is to identify the exact information the user needs from the system and vice versa. "I am sure there are many missions that can be handled by an aircraft without any assistance of a pilot. But we shouldn't underestimate the power of a human mind. A computer is fantastic to calculate and to react and handle large data. A human ...

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