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The Smart Fighter

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In a recent video interview by, Deputy Commander Martin Nezbeda and Czech Air Force pilot Lieutenant Milan Nykodym talk about the Gripen aircraft and the roles and responsibilities of the 211th Tactical Squadron.

“211th tactical squadron is responsible for securing the integrity of the Czech Republic's airspace through the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS). The entire squadron comprises of 140 personnel out of whom 20 are flight crew members,” says Colonel Martin Nezbeda.

Milan Nykodym talks about the ongoing daily training missions at the Squadron. “These air missions are mostly carried out in the Czech Republic itself. One of the largest training areas is over the Krkonoše Mountains. Another one is located in the south of Žďár nad Sázavou and Šumperk. These areas are used for trainings of the air combat missions that are demanding in terms of space,” he says.

Lieutenant Nykodym adds that Standard pre-flight preparation takes one hour. If an aircraft is a part of the quick reaction alert system i.e. that of the Czech Republic, it must be ready to take off within 15 minutes of the signal. Gripen has a quick turnaround time of 10 minutes during which a team of technicians and five conscripts can re-arm, refuel, and perform basic inspections and servicing before returning to flight.

Watch the video and read the full story here

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Last week, school children met with experts at the 21st Tactical Air Force Base in Čáslav and took a tour of the Air Base to know how things work around there. 

Both kids and their teachers were very keen to meet Gripen pilots. "How can I become a Gripen pilot?" one of the kids asked.

"You should focus on Maths, Physics, English and Physical Education," the pilot answered, adding that physical fitness is very important. There will be maneuvers during flight in which a pilot may be subjected to high levels of accelerations. Hence, pilots have to go through the Centrifuge 9G Training.

The kids were also familiarized with the roles and responsibilities of the personnel at the 21st Tactical Air Force Base. They were shown videos from the Baltic and Iceland missions pointing out how it is challenging and beautiful at the same time.

Read the full story here.

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While the first Gripen NG will be launched on May 18, visitors at the FIDAE 2016 International Air & Space Fair can get a glimpse of the new generation fighter today itself. The event that kickstarts today at the Arturo Merino Benitez Airport in Santiago, Chile will have a full scale model of Gripen NG aircraft at its external chalet A6.

Besides Gripen, Air System Early Warning and Control, Giraffe Surface Radar and Land Combat Weapons are among some of the products and features that Saab will display at FIDAE 2016. 

Post the Saab Brazil deal of 36 new generation Gripen Aircraft, the Latin American market has attained significant importance for Saab. According to Frederick Gustafson, head of sales and marketing at Saab for Latin America, “Saab is known throughout Latin America as a reliable partner and a source of security technologies and strategic defense, which is helping to protect societies and nations. We are proud to partner with our customers and we see a huge potential for new businesses. Our intelligent, flexible and affordable solutions enhance resources and resolve threats and real problems throughout the region. There is no other company that has a portfolio of high quality products, tested and approved as ours.”

FIDAE 2016 will be held from 29 March to 3 April 2016 and you can visit the Saab stand at E47.

Read the full story here.

​​​Under the Brazilian Transfer of Technology Program, 350 Brazilian engineers will work alongside Saab in developing Gripen NG. 

About 50 Brazilian professionals and their families have already reached Sweden. For the families, it has been a new experience as Sweden is a different country with different climatic conditions.


When Brazil and Sweden signed the contract for 36 Gripen aircraft in 2015, technology transfer was one of the most important factors taken into account. More than 60 per cent of the development of the two-seat Gripen NG will take place in Brazil, as will the production. As much as 80 per cent of flight testing will take place in Brazil.

In October 2015, the first batch of 48 Brazilian engineers arrived in Sweden. The process of training Brazilian engineers, pilots and technicians will take place in different phases. The first phase includes the training of systems engineers and software developers. Pilots, flight test engineers, production engineers, and so on will be arriving a bit further down the line. Over time, almost 350 professionals will receive ‘on-the-job training’ in Sweden.

“We have made a commitment on technology for fighter aircraft that includes development, production and maintenance. The main aim is to train Brazil’s own industry so that it will eventually be able to maintain its own fleet of Gripen aircraft and also develop its own future technology,” says Göran Almquist, Deputy Program Manager for Gripen in Brazil.

Read the full story here.

​“The latest version of Gripen has an upgraded air-frame and avionics systems. It is an agile and maneuverable fighter. It is integrated with meteor missile system that gives the aircraft unprecedented capabilities,” said Saab test pilot Hans Einerth during a recent visit to Colombia. He and his colleague Marcus Wandt were in Colombia to take a Gripen seminar for pilots of the Colombian Air Force.

During the seminar, both Saab test pilots talked about the capabilities of the new generation Gripen aircraft. They also talked about what it is like to fly a Gripen. 

For Saab, Latin America is one of the most important market post the Gripen Brazil deal. Saab has had a presence in Colombia’s civil aviation sector since the 1950s.

Next week, Saab will be showcasing its latest range of cutting-edge technologies across land, air and naval domains at the ninth Defexpo India, to be held at Naqueri Quitol in Quepem Taluka of South Goa, India.

Defexpo India will take place between 28th and 31st March 2016. ​Saab will be present at its stand Stand 3.1.3 in Hall 3. Besides Gripen, Saab will also display products like Carl-Gustaf M4, BAMSE, RBS 70NG, 9LV CMS, RBS 15 MK3 and Double eagle SAROV.​

Know more about Saab's participation at the event here.

"We are pushing two generations ahead. Gripen has a strong market position, and development of the new 'E' variant is progressing in line with time and budget estimates," says Ulf Nilsson, Saab's head of aeronautics at Saab's annual Gripen seminar. For Sweden's order of 60 planes, a first test aircraft will soon be ready. Saab's incremental platform development methods result in shorter lead times to customers, he says.

As per the latest update at the Seminar, the Brazil programme is at full speed ahead. 50 Brazilian engineers who have arrived in Linkoping are now an integrated part of the Gripen program.

Ulf also talked about why Saab believes in true technology transfer. “Why do we want to share our technology? While our competitors see technology sharing as a risk, we see it as an opportunity. This is the way to grow forward and gain new partners. To achieve sustainability in the transfer of technology program, we have to build technology around the program. It’s a strategic decision for Saab and Sweden,” he says.

Unveiled during the Gripen Annual Seminar, this video shows some behind-the-scene highlights from the first next generation Gripen test aircraft in production. Next stop: roll out on May 18.

“We do not design Gripen for a specific mission, because if you drive design for one specific mission, you will be stuck in that corner. And that results into some very strong limitations with what can be done with the platform. That is why we have gone for a balanced design for Gripen which allows us to continuously develop the fighter and introduce tailored solutions and new capabilities for our customers to give them what they need in the future,” says Ulf Nilsson, Head of Saab Business Area, Aeronautics at the Saab Annual Gripen Seminar.

On being asked if continued upgrades are cost-effective, Ulf says that they sure can be.

“Continued upgrades and enhancements on Gripen C/D are not expensive. With our new avionics systems, it is like upgrading an app. So, instead of doing it the conservative way, if one has a design solution right from the start, upgrades can be cost effective," he says.

The new avionics system is more of an open architecture system. It gives us a different flexibility. The core of the avionics system is like the operational system in your mobile phone. The tactical systems are more like the apps. So you can integrate a new weapon like an app. This dramatically changes the way an aircraft can be upgraded. 

Watch the seminar online here​.

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Swedish Air Force has confirmed that it would be sending a Gripen fighter to RAF Fairford this summer for the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT).

The first RIAT was held at North Weald Airfield in 1971 and was inspired by two air traffic controllers, Paul Bowen and Tim Prince. At that time, it was only a modest event with a few volunteers. Since then, RIAT has grown into a big event with the participation of more than 250 aircraft every year. Gripen NG demonstrator was first displayed outside Sweden in RIAT 2010. 

RIAT 2016 will be held between 8 and 10 July 2016.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Stefan Kalm

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