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Perfect balance

The key to victory in any air-to-air confrontation is always the right balance of situational awareness, power and weaponry.

Photo: Jörgen Nilsson

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Eight Swedish Gripen fighters and three Rafale fighters were part of a two-week long exercise called Bernadotte. The joint exercise, which was held in France, was an opportunity for both the air forces to test their inter-operational capabilities.

The exercise consisted of missions that depicted general threat scenarios. The idea was to learn to operate under unfamiliar conditions, and with different kinds of fighters. 

"When we train with foreign nations, the goal is always the same - to be interoperable," said Guillame, Commander of the 3/30 "Lorraine" Squadron, and organizer of the exercise. 

The exercise lasted for two weeks.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: French Air Force

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Denel Dynamics' fifth generation air-to-air missile A-Darter has cleared guided missile qualification tests now. The missile system, which has previously been integrated with the South African Air Force Gripen, offers features like lock-on after launch, and memory tracking with the latest processing capabilities.

The test had four firings that were conducted in various scenarios to understand different capabilities of the missile system. The first test was to check the lock-on after launch capability. For the second firing, the missile was released at a closed range to the target. This tested the high off-boresight capability. The last two tests checked the missile's electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM).  

The first A-Darter air-to-air missile system was successfully launched in 2015. The missile is 2980 mm long, with a diameter of 166 mm, and weighs about 93 kgs. A-Darter boasts of a higher range than traditional SRAAMs. At the same time, it has an agility to handle to closest of close combats. It also features advanced digital processing capability, and a highly sensitive two-colour thermal imaging seeker.

Read the full story here.

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Flying during an airshow is a process planned well in advance. From the aerial maneuvers to flight formations to releasing flares and performing duals, every move during a display is tested, verified, approved, rehearsed for months and perfected.

In an interview with Lidovky.cz, Czech Gripen display pilot Ivo Kardoš, winner of the best display award this year at the NATO Days in Ostrava and Air Force Days, talks about his job, and nuances of air displays.

Display flying is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a challenging task that requires a lot of expertise. “An aerial display lasts for only ten minutes. But is exhausting. By the end of it, you can see me sweating like I have run for miles,” he says

"You have to love your job, or else you cannot do it."

About a standard day at work as a Gripen pilot, Kardoš says it begins with a briefing on the weather and availability of aircraft. Thereafter, pilots get the schedule of their tasks of the day. "We record our flights and analyze it later to see if there is any room for improvement."

Kardoš, who flies at about 15 airshows in a year, says the pilot has to concentrate a lot during a display flight as one has to fly very close to the ground. "We fly at a height of 100-200 yards. There is no time for mistakes. You have to display the same maneuvers you have learnt all ...

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“My manager called me into the room, shook my hand and said, ‘Congratulations, you’re going to Sweden,’” says António da Fontoura, a hardware and software engineer at AEL. 

“We spent a whole week inside the simulators in order to understand how Gripen’s system works, and we could also feel how these systems - such as the helmet - operate. It has a display that keeps information on the pilot’s visor. If you have a designated target, when looking to the side, the helmet points to its location,” he adds.

Since 2015, several engineers like António have been extensively working to develop various parts of the Gripen fighter along with their Swedish colleagues. More than a 100 Brazilian professionals have been trained so far with a majority of them already working at Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN).

According to General Márcio Bruno Bonotto, "So far, all our expectations have been met. Everything is going as per schedule. 50% of the technology transfer initiatives have been completed. This demonstrates the confidence that FAB and Saab have in each other."

In 2016, Saab and Embraer inaugurated GDDN in Gavião Peixoto, in the state of São Paulo. GDDN is responsible for providing the development environment and simulators required to undertake the fighter development work.

This year in May, Saab unveiled a 5,000-square-meter facility for its future Gripen fighter jet aerostructures plant: Saab Aeronáutica Montagens (SAM). SAM will be responsible for the development of aerostructures for the Brazilian ...

The biggest multinational Gripen Exercise, Lion Effort 2018 starts today. Swedish, Czech and Hungarian Air Forces have sent their Gripen fighters for participation while representatives from the Royal Thai Air Force and the Brazilian Air Force will participate as observers.


The two week long exercise comprises of things like familiarity flying, aerial photography missions, aerial refueling and combat missions with participants divided into Red and Blue teams. But the participants do not just train together, they also get an opportunity to share their experiences of operating Gripen, best practices, and exchange information.

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When Captain Gustavo de Oliveira Pascotto flew Gripen for the first time in 2015, he was very impressed with the way Gripen managed the pilot work load. "What I liked the most was the highly advanced human-machine interface," he said.

Pascotto was one of the first few Brazilian pilots who left Anápolis for F7 in Såtenäs to learn all about the future fighter of their Air Force and pass on this knowledge to his colleagues and newly qualified Gripen instructors.

Fast forward to today, and more than 140 professionals have been trained in Sweden till date. They have already returned to Brazil, and most of them are working at the Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN).

Today, there is an excitement amongst everyone at the Brazilian Air Force about the arrival of new fighters with people eagerly waiting for Gripen to become operational in Brazil.

“There is a desire and a thrill that has not been seen for a long time. Today we have a group dedicated to studying this aircraft, which asks us a lot of questions. The pilots know they will have the opportunity to operate a modern machine that will enable them to complete their missions successfully. FAB is restructuring and training the squadron to operate Gripen,” says Lieutenant Colonel Renato Leal Leite.

Those who have flown it never forget it. “Flying Gripen was challenging, rewarding and an operational crowning experience,” says Major Gustavo Pascotto.

Teams are working diligently on ...

​Czech Air Force Gripen presented a powerful aerial display for the Belgian Air Force Days visitors, at Kleine-Brogel airbase earlier this month.


Gripen is built for the pilot. With the most advanced pilot interface and flight control systems, Gripen makes it easier for a pilot to concentrate on the mission. 

Flying a Gripen C requires minimal pilot workload. Hear one of our test pilots as he describes how natural the interaction is between a pilot and a Gripen. ​

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Saab has appointed former Gripen test pilot and Head of Saab Malaysia, Ola Rignell, as the new Chairman & Managing Director of Saab India Technology Pvt. Ltd. 

Before handling operations in Malaysia, he was the director of Business Development, Aviation Training at Support & Services, Saab AB. He is also member of the Board at Saab Airport AB. 

Ola is a highly experienced pilot who has logged in more than 2,500 flight hours in different Swedish fighters including Saab’s Draken, Viggen and Gripen. He has also flown other fighter aircraft such as the F-16, Tornado, Hawk and Harrier. Apart from fighters, he has logged in more than 1,500 flight hours on civilian flight operations. 

As a former pilot, Ola has been extensively involved in Sweden’s Gripen programme where he was responsible for testing weapons, avionics, engine performance and human-machine interface. 

“Ola has the experience and the expertise which will enable Saab to further strengthen our work in the country and take forward our unbroken relationship of over 40 years. We are committed to building next-generation defence and security capabilities in India. Together with Indian government and industry, we would like to develop new ways to meet the challenges of tomorrow,” says Dean Rosenfield, Head of Saab Market Area Asia Pacific.

At a time when Saab is deeply involved in multiple activities in the Indian market, Ola’s appointment only reinforces the company’s commitment to the country. 

Read full story here.

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