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The Smart Fighter

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Swedish Gripen23.jpg
The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) has awarded a performance based logistics (PBL) contract to GKN Aerospace Sweden AB​ to provide support services for the Swedish Gripen's RM12 engine.

GKN is a British multinational company that provides components and assemblies for aerostructures, engine products, landing gear, wiring systems etc. A follow on from an initial five year agreement, the PBL contract will have GKN Aerospace ensuring engine availability for not just the Swedish Air Force, but also for the Gripen C/D export customers like Hungary and Thailand.

"We are totally committed to ensuring RM12 engine availability and its secure and safe performance in all operations,” says GKN Aerospace Engine Systems CEO Mike McCann.

"At the same time we closely monitor every aspect of product life cycle cost effectiveness."

As per the contract, GKN Aerospace will also provide technical product support, maintenance, repair and overhaul, repair development and spare parts supply.

Read the full story here.

Saab has awarded a subcontract to German automotive parts supplier Rheinmetall to provide automatic cannons for the Swedish and Brazilian Gripen NGs.

Rheinmetall's Mauser BK-27 automatic revolver cannon will feature a newly developed linkless ammunition feeding system. A highly effective weapon for close air combat and against ground and unprotected naval targets, Mauser BK 27 was first developed in the late 1960s for an MRCA (Multi Role Combat Aircraft) program.

Rheinmetall will also provide service support and spare parts along with associated ammunition for the weapon system.

As per the contract, the automatic cannons will be delivered during 2017 and 2025.

Read the full story here.

GRIPEN10years_69.jpgDuring the air display which concluded the ceremony, the Hungarian Gripen fighters formed the number ten in the sky above Kecskemét airbase.
GRIPEN10years_73.jpgTaxing to the runway.
GRIPEN10years_79.jpgThe flight line with ready to go Gripen fighters.
GRIPEN10years_web_03.jpgThis isthe Gripen model that was handed over to the base commander.
GRIPEN10years_web_12.jpgThe audience listens to the presentation on the first ten years with Gripen in the Hungarian Air Force.
GRIPEN10years_49.jpgThe ceremony included a hand-over to the Hungarian Air Force by the Swedish Air Force support group. 

This year marks ten years of Gripen in the Hungarian Air Force. To celebrate this milestone, a ‘Gripen decade’ ceremony was held last week at Szentgyörgyi Dezső Airbase in Kecskemét. Representatives of the Hungarian Government, the Hungarian and Swedish Armed Forces and Saab were present at the ceremony.

In 2001, the Swedish and Hungarian governments entered into a lease-purchase agreement, with a further modification in 2003, which included 14 Gripen C/D (12 single-seat plus two twin-seat) aircraft. All Gripen fighters were delivered in 2006 and 2007 and, by the end of 2008, the 14 aircraft were in operational service with the Hungarian Air Force. In January 2012, the leasing agreement with Sweden was extended until 2026. 

With Gripen, the Hungarian Air Force has established itself as a modern and effective NATO Air Force. Last year, the Hungarian Air Force had sent four Gripen fighters and about 80 personnel to guard the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The four months long Baltic Air Policing mission was completed successfully ...

​In a few months, the first Gripen NG will be unveiled in Sweden. Here are some pictures from the final assembly of the smart fighter.


czech gripen22.jpg
In October this year, Czech Gripen fighters will play a leading role in the airspace protection of Iceland once again, reports

According to the report, the first certification flights will be conducted in September. Like last year, five Czech Air Force Gripen and up to 70 service personnel will be sent. The task of the Czech contingent will be to provide airborne surveillance and interception capabilities to meet Iceland’s peacetime preparedness needs.

Iceland first requested NATO for air policing support in 2006 after which, starting 2008, various allied nations have sent their fighters for Icelandic Air Policing. On an average, 3-4 deployments (for a duration of 3-4 weeks) are made every year.

Read the full story here.

​"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

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