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How does a first flight on a new aircraft feel like? Straight from the pilot’s mouth. Test pilot Robin tells about the first flight with the second Gripen E test aircraft.

Akaer’s partnership with Saab began long before the Gripen Brazil contract was signed. Back in 2009, Akaer was already a part of the Gripen design team, and was involved in small work packages with Gripen. It all started with developing the real fuselage structure (designing the structural parts and conducting the stress analysis of these parts), and engineering. Then they started working on the gun section and electrical projects. Today, Akaer is working in the development of the two-seater aircraft.

One of the first Brazilian companies to have partnered with Saab, Akaer boasts of a portfolio of more than half a million hours of work dedicated to the Gripen programme since 2009.

“They have done the development of structural details, the rear fuselage for both the Swedish and now the Brazilian version (Gripen E). We have a long-lasting relationship with Akaer,” says Mikael Franzen, Head of Business Unit Gripen Brazil-Saab. 

“And now they are involved in the development of the two-seater aircraft as well. We are giving more and more work to Akaer,” he adds.

While Brazil benefits from this wide-ranging technological transfer programme, this relationship between Akaer and Saab is equally valuable for Saab which is constantly looking for new partners to develop new products and services. Saab hopes that Akaer will be able to participate in other projects in Brazil and abroad in future. One of the major reasons of the success of technology transfer programme in Brazil is partnerships like Saab and ...

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On 26 November, Saab completed the successful first flight of the second Gripen E test aircraft.

The second Gripen E test aircraft, designated 39-9, took off on its maiden flight at 09.50 am on 26 November 2018. The test flight was operated from Saab’s airfield at Linköping, Sweden, with Saab test pilot Robin Nordlander at the controls.

“Some people think being a test pilot is the most exciting job in the world and it should be. Flying Gripen E means breaking no sweat though, even on a maiden flight such as this. The flight was so smooth and 39-9 a real pleasure to pilot. I am looking forward to getting it back in the air again and soon putting the new systems to the test,” says Robin Nordlander, Experimental Test Pilot, Saab.

Read the full story here.

​This video is a tribute to the Brazilian aviation pioneer Santos Dumont who flew the first successful flight in a self-propelled aircraft in 1906, and to all airmen that have served the country so far. And guess who features in the video!


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F 7 Såtenäs had their Gripen pilots practise for emergencies and quick reaction missions earlier this month.

The exercise was a complete surprise for the division's staff. 24 hours after the launch of the emergency chain of commands, the 72nd fighter division had redeployed its personnel and equipment, including three Gripen fighters, and was able to start completing the tasks at the Halmstad airport. The fighter division continued to operate from Halmstad Base until Wednesday afternoon, after which it re-grouped at the home base Såtenäs.

The ability to operate from dispersed bases is very important for SwAF. "For the past three years, F 7 and the Air Force have taken several important steps in that direction," said Lars Helmrich, head of Skaraborg's air wing, F 7. 

“With the exercise this week, we continue to strengthen the ability of the Air Force to operate from several bases. This increases the accessibility of the Air Force as well.”

Read the full story here.

Photo courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​

​Trident Juncture 2018 helped NATO allies and member countries test their military capabilities in  Norway, the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea. The two week long exercise had over 50,000 personnel, 250 aircraft, 65 ships, and up to 10,000 vehicles participating.


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Videos: Shape NATO

Photos: Louise Levin

During a two-week training at the Vidsel Air Base, Hungarian Gripen fighters were put through various training exercises to test the new capabilities that come with the MS20 update.

With its huge test and training area, the Vidsel Air Base is an ideal place for the six Hungarian Gripen fighters to train. "Technically, the MS20 capabilities have already been integrated to the fighters. But it is time to train the team to use the new features," says Lennart Zettergren, who is responsible for training at FMV, export division.

As a part of the MS20 update, Hungarian Gripen's engine control system, aircraft control system, and avionics system have gone through a software update. Pilot-machine interface, link functions, and radar functions have been updated as well. 

"So many changes are not easy to incorporate in a short span of time. There are several challenges. But the seamless cooperation between Saab, FMV and Hungary has made the modernisation of the Hungarian Gripen fleet possible despite a tight schedule," says Kristian Saf Pernselius, Project Manager for Gripen, Hungary at FMV.   

Read the full story here.

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Pilots and other personnel from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) have participated in several operational exchange programmes so far to get an understanding of Gripen operations. For example, at a recent visit to Hungary, Major-Brigadier Jefson Borges learned about the latest Saab offerings for Gripen and interacted with Gripen operators as they shared their experiences of working in a combat environment from a tactical and logistical viewpoint.

Before that, Brazilian pilots attended the Lion Effort Exercise 2018 in October. Lion Effort was a great opportunity to see multiple Gripen operators train together, performing air-to-air and air-to-ground missions using BVR and Infrared missiles.

Currently, two FAB officials are travelling to Thailand for a three month training programme where they will understand in detail, the operational challenges, and get a brief on logistics, and support systems as well.

"The learning curve is very huge. In a short span of time, FAB has to be able to adapt to the new systems and use them for different mission scenarios," says Col. Aviador Ricardo Guerra Rezende, President of the Fox Group which is dedicated to the operational management of the Brazilian Gripen programme.

Read the full story here.

Image Source: FAB

Trident Juncture is one of NATO's biggest exercises in recent years. More than 51,000 personnel from 31 countries are participating in this exercise. There are about 250 aircraft and helicopters, 65 vessels and 10,000 vehicles involved. The exercise is being conducted in Norway, Sweden and Finland.

One of the main goals of Trident Juncture is to test NATO Response Force's capabilities. For Swedish participants, the exercise is a great opportunity to work with different air forces, and operate different weapon systems, connection systems etc. A lot of coordination is also required by Gripen pilots to fly with multiple fighters (as many as 50).

A usual morning for SwAF Gripen unit participating at the Trident Juncture 2018 involves a set of exercises. In the morning, they have the AM Wave, which usually consists of small missions. In the afternoon and evening, all large scale exercises are performed. Night time flying is usually similar missions with night vision goggles.

Trident Juncture 2018 ended on 7th November.

Read the full story here.

It is critical that the person in the cockpit has full confidence in the capabilities of the aircraft. So the opinion of the FAB pilots about Gripen is extremely relevant! 

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