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The Smart Fighter

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​Aviation photography is no mean feat. It requires passion and special skills to capture aerial maneuvers at its best. Professional aviation photographer David Choděra talks toThe National Geographic about what it takes to get a great shot of Czech Air Force Gripen.

“Gripen fighters are always admired. Czechs want to experience and hear the power of their engine. Here I managed to capture the moment the fighter takes off and closes the chassis,” says Choděra.

The winner of 2010 Aviation Week Photo Contest, Military Category, Jamie Hunter talks about the effects of external factors like weather on his photography. “We had a very small window of opportunity to shoot the Gripen NG Demo in formation with a JAS 39D and so it had to be planned very carefully. The weather in the area around Linkoping was quite bad with heavy rain and low clouds – but luckily we were able to find some better weather in the operating area thanks to some advice from a Gripen pilot who had just returned from a local mission.”

Most of the times, the trick lies in timing the shot. Another aviation photographer, Tom Gagner who won the Gripen Photo Competition in 2015​ explains how he got his winning shot of Gripen at the Flygdagen 2015 Airshow, “I shot the photo at Flygdagen 2015 (Air Force Day 2015) in Sweden. I waited some time to get the perfect angle that shows Gripen making a sharp turn.” 

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Saab is ready to offer India the complete package to fulfill the country’s air combat capability requirements. 

Recently, speaking to Jane’s, Jan Widerström, Chairman, Saab India, said that the company will participate in major programmes to supply fighter aircraft to India. Saab believes that India could become a “complete source” for Gripen fighter aircraft. 

The requirement – yet to be formalised through a request for information (RFI) – is likely to stretch to more than 100 aircraft, according to Jane’s.

Widerström has said that Saab “will deliver to India the complete capacity to design, develop, manufacture, deliver, support, and sustain an advanced fighter capability based on Gripen,” reports Jane’s. 

Read the full story here

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Alternative power.

Multiple test flights have shown that Gripen can fly with 100 percent biofuel. This gives us valuable insights into future use of alternative fuel.

Photo: Linus Svensson​

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During a capability demonstration exercise earlier this month, SAAF Gripen fighters performed a variety of aerial displays at the De Brug range outside Bloemfontein.

The demonstration was spectacular with a mock dogfight between Hawk and Gripen combat jets. The two fighters also performed aerial displays with multiple flare releases.

 The visitors also saw Rooikat armoured cars and Olifant tanks kicking up the dust and firing their cannons. The demonstration ended with a mock battle in which Gripen fighters, Hawk, and Oryx and Rooivalk attack helicopters participated.

Read the full story here.

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The 171st fighter division of F17 recently got an opportunity to train its forces with four US Fighting falcons, reports

The exercise, in which 12 F-16s along with 300 airmen were sent by the USA to Amari Air Base in Estonia,  was a part of NATO's operation Atlantic Resolve. Swedish participation in the exercise was in line with the Finnish-Swedish FSTE concept (Finnish Swedish Training Event).

"The FSTE concept is similar to the cross-border training that is being conducted on a regular basis in northern Sweden, with the participation of Norway and Finland," said a participating F 17 pilot. 

As a part of these cross-border exercises, daily training missions were conducted over the Baltic Sea. Exercises like this are a great opportunity for new pilots to train with different fighters and develop interoperability.

Read the full story here.

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On 15 February 2018, the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) celebrated Wing 7's 36th birthday. ACM Jom Rungsawang, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Air Force, and Group Captain and Chief of the Air Force Wife Association, Koranun Rungsawang, attended the event. 

Flying displays by six Gripen fighters and three Saab 340s marked the celebrations.

In his speech, ACM Jom talked about Wing 7's successful operations, Gripen and Saab 340 AEW acquisitions, and RTAF's integrated air defence system.

RTAF declared he Gripen Integrated Air Defense System commissioned as a fully operational part of the air force at its home base, Wing 7 in 2013. At the ceremony to announce the integeration, personnel from all three military branches were in attendance, symbolising what the new system stood for: integrated defense operations.

Wing 7 operates 12 Gripen fighters. It received its first batch of six Gripen fighters in February 2011.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: RTAF


One of the major Gripen E's capabilities include the new sensor IRST (Infra Red Search and Track). And what makes IRST one of the most advanced technology is the fact that it can silently detect its targets.

But how does IRST catch an opponent unawares?

IRST is an electro-optical system mounted on top of the nose, just in front of the canopy, and is looking forward in a wide sector registering heat emissions from other aircraft, helicopters and from objects on the ground and sea surface.

IRST is a passive sensor, which means it never emits any energy. It only listens for energy coming from other sources. The tactical advantage of a passive sensor is that it will not give your position away. Opponents will have no indication whatsoever that Gripen E is using its IRST to monitor their activities.

Saab successfully conducted Gripen's first flight with IRST four years ago. IRST enables detection and tracking of enemy targets including aircraft, naval vessels and ground vehicles.

Tod Wolters, Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, met Mats Helgesson, Chief of Air Force, Sweden earlier this month. The U.S. Commander also paid a visit to the Air Combat Training School in Uppsala to be briefed about Gripen fighters and future joint exercises.

"This was a rewarding visit. We have had discussions mainly about joint exercises especially the ACE exercise which is an example of an important component of our cooperation with both NATO and the United States, "said Mats Helgesson.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​

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​The 21st Tactical Air Force Base in Čáslav will host a multinational exercise 'Sky Avenger' between 18 and 29 June this year.

The Czech Air Force has confirmed the participation of Gripen and L-159 ALCA planes from the Čáslav base. Six F-16s will also participate in the exercise.

Sky Avenger is a joint exercise based on Czech Air Force's long-term cooperation with the Air National Guards of Nebraska and Texas. 

“In addition to dogfighting and cooperation with forward air controllers, the exercise will also focus on composite air missions,” discloses Major Tomáš Merta, Deputy Director of the exercise.

Read the full story here.

RIAT2017_Gripen1.jpgThe Czech Air Force has confirmed the participation of a Gripen and an L-159 Advanced Light Combat Aircraft (ALCA) at RIAT 2018.

This time, RIAT will also celebrate the completion of a 100 years by the Royal Air Force. Last year, Captain Ivo Kardoš from the 211th Tactical Squadron at Čáslav Air base won the award for the best flying demonstration by an overseas participant at RIAT.

The first Air Tattoo was held in the year 1971 with a participation of about a hundred aircraft. Deemed as one of the world's greatest airshow now, RIAT now attracts participation from across the globe.  About 150, 000 to 160, 000 visitors attend the show every year. 

About RIAT, Formula one racing driver Jensen Button once said, "All the thrills, excitement and noise of a Grand Prix, but in the air."

The flying display will take place between 13 and 15 July 2018.

Read the full story here​.

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