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The Smart Fighter

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Gripen is created to give you maximum air time, minimum down time. It can be re-armed in approximately 10 minutes, meaning Gripen is always prepared to fulfil any mission.

Photo: Daniel Nilsson

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The fight against rhinoceros poaching in South Africa is all set to get a fresh impetus. South African Air Force Gripen fighters will be deployed to track poachers in the country, particularly along the Zimbabwe border. 

The primary surveillance tool for SAAF Gripen will be the Litening III targeting pod designed by Israeli defence company Rafael. The unit has a sensor turret fitted with day- and night-vision cameras, as well as a combination laser range finder and target designator. The pods significantly increase the combat effectiveness of the aircraft during day, night and under-the-weather conditions in the attack of ground and air targets. It can be mounted externally on an aircraft, and provides good quality target imagery for further analysis. 

SAAF Gripen, which use the domestically produced data link, Link ZA, can connect with command centres on ground to share information, and even with groups of wildlife rangers. 

Lieutenant Colonel Josias Mashaba, Head of the SAAF’s 2 Squadron, said that it is important to take preventive action before the rhinos go extinct. "They are smart, those guys, they are not stupid, but we find them," says Mashaba about poachers. In 2015 and 2016, more than 1,000 rhinos were killed by poachers and illegal hunters in the country.

Read more here.

​Gripen E is developed with future progress in mind. See this video where Johan, one of our avionics specialists, and Marcus, test pilot, share our thoughts on building a fighter system adaptable for the future. 

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If you are planning to visit the UK, Belgium, or France in the next few months, you just might catch some stunning Gripen solo displays!

The annual Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton International Air Day in Somerset will be held on 8 July. Czech Air Force will send one Gripen fighter and two L-159 ALCA aircraft for flying display at the event.

Then, there is the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) UK, which will be held between 14 and 16 July at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. Gripen fighters from Sweden, Hungary and the Czech Republic will be performing aerial displays at the event. Besides Gripen, more than 250 trainers, fighters, and transport aircraft have been confirmed for participation.

On 19 and 20th August, one can catch a Czech Air Force Gripen in action at the Festival of Flight, Biggin Hill airshow in the UK. This is followed by the International Sanicole Air Show in Belgium which boasts of a range of demonstrations of fighters, vintage aircraft, helicopters and parachutists. The airshow will be held on 10 September. A Swedish and a Hungarian Gripen fighter will be participating.

Besides Sanicole Air Show, a Gripen performance is also assured at the Fetes de l´Air Lens airshow in France on 9 and 10 September.

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The Swedish Air Force is reportedly spending SEK 2 billion to train for Cold War style operations from road runways, reports Aviation Week​. The expenditure is on road runways and for buying equipment for clearing snow, which will enable SwAF fighters to easily take-off and land in the absence of a proper runway.

Sweden deployed jets on highways and general aviation airfields during the Cold War era when attacks from Soviet Air Force were expected. This practice paved the way for the modern Gripen’s design which allows it to land and take off from roads.

The renewed interest comes from a rise in military activities in the Baltics and enhanced Russian activity in nearby areas. The upcoming exercise Aurora 2017 will also feature dispersed operations and will test the skills of the country’s armed services, national guards and government agencies in the event of a national emergency. 

Read more here.

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Ahead of the recent Paris Air Show, members of the Gripen User Group met up in Paris on 20 June to add Brazil as the newest member of the group.

The Gripen User Group is made up of representatives of countries that operate the Gripen fighter. Before Brazil, the last induction in the group was that of Thailand in 2010. The Gripen Users Group holds a bi-annual conference to share the participants’ experiences of flying the fighter. The Group shares information, and the discussions revolve around Gripen’s operational, maintenance, logistics, engineering and safety matters.

The User Group also conducts ‘Lion Effort’ - a tactical exercise aimed to improve interoperability between the Gripen operating countries. Hungary will host Lion Effort in 2018. 

Read the full story here​.

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A week after Gripen E's successful maiden flight, it was time for the second flight on 22 June. Test pilot Robin Nordlander piloted this 68 minutes flight in which several tests like take-off with afterburner and aileron rolls, were conducted. The test programme is going as planned and more flights will follow.

Photo: Stefan Kalm

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Czech Air Force's 'Wildcat' was ranked as the second best tiger painted aircraft at the NATO Tiger Meet 2017, reports Afbcaslav.cz​.

The Meet was held between 5 and 16 June. Several dozens of training missions were carried out by Czech pilots in the framework of the prestigious NATO tiger squadrons exercise.

Image Courtesy: Afbcaslav.cz

​During the Seinäjoki International Airshow, a Czech Gripen performed a 360 degree turn over on the runway before its flight. Watch it in action.


​Catch Gripen in action as it performed a stunning aerial display at the annual SAAF Museum air show at AFB Zwartkop last month. The airshow was held on 06 May. More than 30,000 visitors attended the event.

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