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Royal Thai Air Force welcomed students, parents and teachers to Wing 7 last week to familiarise them with operations at the Air Base.

Image Courtesy: RTAF

Busy days in the Gripen factory. Another four Gripen E are soon ready to take to the skies!​

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The last ten years of Gripen operations in Thailand have set new standards in South East Asia, says a report in Combataircraft.keypublishing.com.

According to the report, when the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) was looking for a new fighter to replace its ageing F-5E Tiger IIs, it was thinking outside the box. Unlike its previous military hardware choices, the air force was looking for a complete package with advanced sensors and network centric capabilities. The contract with Saab was signed in 2008. Deliveries began around 2011 for two single seaters (Gripen C) and four two seaters (Gripen D). They further ordered 6 more around 2010, which were delivered in two phases in 2013.

In the last ten years, Gripen has been a part of various RTAF missions and deployments. Last year, the RTAf Gripen completed 10,000 flight hours at the Pitch Black Exercise.

As per a Jane's report, RTAF is now looking to upgrade its Gripen fighters to MS20 configuration. "We are planning to upgrade the Gripens to the MS20 standard. We have seen the capabilities of the current standard and it would do everything we need," Group Captain Prachya Tippayarat, deputy commander of the RTAF's Wing 7 at Surat Thani Air Base, said.

Read the full story here.

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“As a mechanical engineer, I have taken countless courses about materials, production processes, logistics, industrial economics – and the list goes on. Pretty much everything I have read about at university can be related to the design and production of an aircraft,” writes Johanna from Linköping who talks about her 3-week eye-opening experience working on Gripen fighters at the Saab Aeronautics production unit in Linköping.

Johanna, along with her other graduate colleagues, were part of the Saab Graduate Leadership Programme which is an extended and in-depth introduction to the company for future ‘Saabers.’ Saab's Graduate leadership programme offers thesis work placement wherein students get to solve different kinds of fascinating problems. These students also get to visit Saab sites and develop an extensive understanding of the company.

“What really struck me is how we are taking major steps for the future within production right now. One is how we have successfully implemented full Model-Based Definition (MBD), which is essentially design and production without drawings. Even those who have been working in production for decades, being used to conventional drawings, were happy to show us how they work with their new 3D tools,” she writes.

Read the full story here.

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On 30th January 2019, Saab submitted its proposal for the Finnish HX fighter procurement to the Finnish defence procurement agency. The proposal, which comprises of 64 Gripen aircraft, is a response to the Request For Quotation (RFQ) sent by the Finnish Defence Forces’ Logistics Command on 27th April 2018. The proposal includes both one-seater Gripen E and two-seater Gripen F.

In addition to the Gripen fighters, the proposal also includes a substantial weapon and sensor package and the necessary equipment and services needed for operating the system. This includes an industrial co-operation programme which aims to build extensive national capabilities in Finland for Security of Supply.

The proposal also includes transfer of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capabilities to the local industry. Saab has also offered an establishment of a Gripen sustainment and development centre in Finland.

“The outstanding capabilities of Gripen are an excellent match for the Finnish needs and requirements. With Gripen, Finland can renew its fighter fleet without compromising on the number of fighters owing to a truly competitive life-cycle cost,” says Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and head of Saab business area Aeronautics.

The HX Fighter Programme was launched in 2015 and was set up to replace the Finnish Air Force’s current fleet with new fighters.

Read the full story here.

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As a response to the Request For Proposal (RFP) issued by armasuisse (the Swiss defence procurement agency), on 6th July 2018, Saab has submitted its proposal for the Swiss New Fighter Aircraft procurement to replace their fighter fleet of F/A-18 Hornet and F-5 E/F Tiger aircraft.

The proposal consists of options for 30 and 40 new build Gripen E fighter aircraft including industrial participation programme for Swiss industry which will be worth 100 percent of the contract value.

 “The proposed Gripen E solution features the latest available technology with low acquisition, operation, and support costs that will give Switzerland an optimal fleet size,” says Jonas Hjelm, head of Saab business area Aeronautics.

The co-operation with Swiss industry that would include manufacturing, maintenance, and technology will improve competence and capabilities aimed at the sustainment and further development of the Gripen E system in Switzerland.

Read the full story here. ​

The AESA radar is a huge advancement from earlier mechanical radars which were more prone to “jamming” and other mechanical errors and failures. Emphasizing on the difference in the principle of operation between the two radars, Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (Retd.), Additional Director General, Centre for Air Power Studies, says in an interview that one of the biggest advantages of the AESA radar is that it uses an array of TRMs (Transmitter-Receiver Modules) allowing more range and adding more speed.

AESA stands for Active Electronically Scanned Array and means that, in contrast to older generation radars, it has not only one antenna but a full array of small antennas, called elements. This means that the radar can simultaneously and independently track different targets, and also track targets independently of search volumes.

Development of today’s Electronic Warfare (EW), radar, and communications functionality are done keeping air-superiority in mind. What makes Gripen E an air-to-air superior fighter is the integration of the latest generation precision weapons, targeting sensors, and an AESA radar that ensures superiority in situational awareness as well. The AESA radar was integrated to Gripen for the first time during a flight test program in 2009 which was focused on the tactical systems of the multi-role aircraft.

With AESA, Gripen E also features a repositioner which allows the AESA radar to gain another 40 degrees of scanning ability to either side of the aircraft’s nose.

In the words of Major General Ravi ...

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14 Hungarian Air Force (HuAF) Gripen fighters are being moved from Kecskemét Air Base to Pápa Air Base for at least six months, reports Hvg.hu.

According to the report, the Kecskemét Air Base is going through a transformation after which it will be both a military and a civilian airport.

The report adds that Hungarian Gripen pilots will train in Lithuania till May first half after which the move will begin.

Read the full story here.

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Ever since Saab put together its first Gripen offer to India, it has maintained that the partnership will be on the lines of the "Make in India" concept. Defining its proposal a little more, the Swedish defence and security company has now announced that it will manufacture 96 Gripen E/F fighters in India.  

In April last year, India had issued an RFI according to which 85% of the 110 fighters required have to be built in the country under the "Make in India" program. 

“Except the first 18 aircraft, we intend to manufacture everything in India. Saab will look to build an ecosystem of defense manufacturing inside the country,” said Ola Rignell, Chairman and Managing Director of Saab India.

Saab is no stranger to technology transfer. With its Brazilian gripen programme, Saab has already delivered on about 50% of the technology transfer projects. It is successfully collaborating with Brazilian companies like Embraer and Akaer to co-develop various Gripen E/F parts.   

Saab's Make in India program also includes setting up of a full manufacturing facility and an Aerospace eco-system in India, creation of a local supplier base of ancillary systems, and employment of a well-trained Indian workforce.

Read the full story here.​

​The Brazilian Gripen will allow the pilot to make accurate decisions in a short time. Want to know more? Watch Episode 18 of our True Collaboration web series!​

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