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The Smart Fighter

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​"When you buy a fighter system, you do not just buy an aircraft. You buy a relationship for almost 30-40 years," says Richard Smith, Saab's head of Gripen marketing and sales. In an interview with Saurabh Joshi of the Stratpost​, Richard talks about the roll-out of the first Gripen NG in May, the Brazil Gripen program and Sea Gripen.

Richard, who has been with Saab for 13 years now, says that he has seen Saab from being a market leader to a market dominator over the years. Talking about Gripen’s success in Brazil, Richard says the new generation aircraft beat all competition there. Saab has offered a complete transfer of technology to Brazil. In India, Saab is willing to offer the same. 

“If we are approached for Gripen, the offer would definitely be under the umbrella of Make In India,” he says.

On being asked how a Gripen F is going to look like, Richard says that it is basically the two seater version of Gripen E. “For all intents and purposes, it will remain the same, besides the number of seats. Also, the single seater will have an internal gun which the two seater won't have,” he says.

rtafgripenpilots_czech2.jpgRoyal Thai Air Force pilots at the Tactical Simulation Centre in Pardubice 
rtafgripenpilots_czech3.jpgCommander of the Royal Thai Air Force pilots addressing Czech representatives

Last month, a few Royal Thai Air Force pilots were in the Czech Republic for training at the Tactical Simulation Centre in Pardubice.

As per the Czech Ministry of Defence website​, it was a five day intensive training using a Gripen simulator. At the end of the training, the Czech Deputy Minister of Defence for Industrial Cooperation and Organisations Management, Tomas Kuchta visited the Thai pilots and thanked them for their active participation in this training.

Image Courtesy: Czech Army

Finnish blogger Robin Häggblom visited a Gripen hangar at F 7 Skaraborg Wing where test pilot André Brännström, a former Swedish Air Force pilot who started his career with flying J 35 Draken, gave him a tour of Gripen. A Gripen pilot has to keep himself up to date with all the new systems and hence Brännström still occasionally flies for the air force in order to understand the operator’s point of view, he says. Brännström participated in ACE15 last year where he got to perform a mission with a Finnish F/A-18C Hornet in a 1-vs-1 scenario.

Writing about his tour, Häggblom notes, “In the hangar, a single Gripen C stood parked. ‘39214’ sported the cat paw of the Såtenäs-based F 7 Skaraborg Wing, and represented the latest standard in 39C development, what Saab calls the Edition 20. In practice, this means that the aircraft features improvements to the radar and adds the capability to employ METEOR long-range air-to-air missiles and GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs, a 110 kg guided bomb with pop-out wings that give it the ability to glide towards it target, both of which will be key weapons in the arsenal of Gripen E when it enters service. The Edition 20 is to be introduced in regular service within the next few weeks.”

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Swedish Armed Forces

Saab has confirmed that it will showcase a full scale model of Gripen NG at the FIDAE 2016 International Air & Space Fair, reports Aeroin Brazil​.

FIDAE is one of the major aerospace events of Latin America. The first FIDAE (it was called FIDA then) was held in March 1980 by the Chilean Air Force to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Since then, the event has proved to be an important platform in the US for the aerospace and defence and security industry to showcase their latest products and interact with each other.  

Besides Gripen, Saab will also exhibit Saab 2000 Erieye Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) and other training and simulation systems at the event. Visitors can meet Saab at stand E47 and the full scale model of the new generation Gripen can be seen at the external chalet A6.

Read the full story here​.

Meet Emelie and Johannes, two of Saab's new engineers who will work in the Product Unit Gripen. The Unit is responsible for winning new Gripen contracts and executing the existing ones.

In their future roles, Emelie will work with Contract Management and Johannes will work within Business Management. Their roles involve a lot of interaction with customers and other departments at Saab. Understanding the business and matters around Gripen will hence be very important for these two graduates.

Read the full story here

Gripen NG fighters will be integrated with a new Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system, reports Flightglobal​.

The new IFF systems will be provided by Italian company Finmeccanica. As per the contract signed between Saab and Finmeccanica, the latter will provide 96 IFF systems plus spare parts by the year 2022. Each IFF system will have a transponder, an interrogator and a crypto that will be customized as per operator’s requirements. 

Operating independently from Gripen's radar and other sensors, the IFF system allows the pilot to identify targets. The separate antennas give it a wide, more-than 180 degree field of regard, providing operational benefits.

Besides the IFF system, Finmeccanica  is also responsible for providing two other main sensors for Gripen NG, the Raven ES05 AESA (E-Scan) radar and the Skyward-G IRST (Infrared Search & Track) passive sensor.

Read the full story here.

On May 18 Saab will unveil the first of the next generation Gripen aircraft at its aeronautical headquarters in Linköping, Sweden. It’s a key milestone in the evolution of The Smart Fighter.

Gripen is a unique fighter concept, bringing a perfect balance between excellent operational performance, high-tech solutions, cost-efficiency and industrial partnership into one, smart fighter system. That’s why we call it “The smart fighter”.​

Image Courtesy: : Peter Karlsson, Svarteld form & foto​

Saab Test Sqdr.jpg
It is a dream of many to become a fighter pilot. But some people go a step ahead. They become a test pilot. In the Swedish news paper Svenska Dagbladet, one of our test pilots tells the story about how to push Gripen to its limits and how he became a test pilot.

Watch the video here.

Hakan Buskhe.jpg"The interest in Gripen is greater than ever," says Saab CEO Hakan Buskhe. A news report in SVD quotes Buskhe saying that Saab is currently in talks with a handful of countries that are interested in Gripen E and F variants.

As per Buskhe, Saab is hopeful about selling Gripen to India and it can agree to develop the new generation aircraft in the country which is in sync with Indian Government’s Make in India Initiative.

"We could, with true ToT (Transfer of Technology), provide Indian Air Force with an Indian-built combat aircraft of the future, with technology of Gripen E," said Buskhe in an interview with Mint, an Indian Daily.

Besides Gripen, Saab, in partnership with Boeing, is also working on the development of a new training aircraft for the US Air Force. It’s an expensive project with over 500 people working on the development, the report says.

Read the full story here.

gripen ng 19.jpg
Saab has had a terrific 2015 in terms of sales and the Security and Defence Company gives a lot of credit for this to Brazil's Gripen order. Saab’s year-end report indicates strong performance, especially in its fourth quarter.

According to the report, during 2015, sales amounted to MSEK 27,186, an increase of 16 percent. The organic sales growth was 11 percent. The operational cash flow was MSEK -500 for the full year and MSEK 653 for the fourth quarter. While initiating the presentation of the year-end report, Saab CEO Hakan Buskhe said that cash flow was positively impacted by milestone payments related to Gripen for Brazil and the submarine A26 for Sweden.

At year-end, the order backlog amounted to MSEK 113,834, which is more than four times annual sales. Saab maintains that though the defence market remains challenging,  its products continue to interest customers as they offer customised functionality and cost efficiency.

Read the full story here.

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