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The Smart Fighter

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​Exercise Trident Juncture 2015, NATO’s biggest exercise in a decade, was concluded last week. Personnel from NATO's Allied and partner nations were training together at the exercise to improve their operational readiness and interoperability.   

As a part of this exercise, six Swedish  Air Force Gripen flew with F-16s and F-18s from Finland, Norway, USA and Portugal. Here are a few snapshots from the exercise.

Image Courtesy: Norrbottens Flygflottilj F 21

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Saab has received an order from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) to provide support and maintenance for Gripen during 2016 on behalf of the Swedish Armed Forces. The contract value is SEK154 million.

In 2012 Saab signed a contract with FMV for performance-based support and maintenance of the Gripen fighter. This latest order for services in 2016 is confirmation of an option held under that 2012 contract. The order includes support and maintenance operations with a focus on technical support, publications and component maintenance to support the continued operation of Gripen.

“This order for performance-based support and maintenance guarantees efficient operations and availability for the Gripen fighter over the coming years,” says Jonas Hjelm, Head of Saab´s Business Area Support and Services.

Read the full story here.

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On September 10 this year, Royal Thai Air Force Gripen completed 5000 flying hours, a short four years after they were inducted. The first batch of Gripen fighters for the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) had been delivered in February 2011.

Since then, the Gripen squadron at Wing 7 in Surat Thani has been up in the air a lot and employed at a number of different missions. The key to this quick attainment of the milestone rests as much with the competence of the Royal Thai Air Force personnel as with the high serviceability of the fleet.

RTAF Gripen’s recent deployments include a reconnaissance mission in the Andaman Sea to locate any illegal migrations. RTAF Gripen and Saab 340 Erieye AEW have been a part of this mission since June this year. Further, Thai Gripen pilots are today testing their skills against top guns from other air forces by participating in joint exercises. ​Earlier this year, at the Thai Boomerang exercise, personnel from the Royal Thai Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force tested out interoperability between the Thai and the Australian forces. In March this year, Thai Gripen took part in Exercise Cope Tiger 2015, a trilateral air exercise conducted by Thailand, Singapore and the United States. Five RTAF Gripen participated in the exercise along with about 90 military aircraft and 1200 personnel from the air forces of the three countries.

Read the full story here​.

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In a recent training exercise, SwAF Gripen technicians from air wing F7 practised Gripen aircraft maintenance under field conditions near forests, reports Forsvarsmakten.

“It has been a long time since we conducted a training exercise of this kind,” says Stefan Moback, Planning Officer at the 2nd Aviation Services Company. The last such exercise was held in 2004.

The training took place in a tent near the woods, a couple of kilometers from the Gripen hangars at F 7 Såtenäs. In these tents, maintenance of Gripen fighters can be done like it is done in the original hangar.

The tents are approximately 250 square meters wide and 6 meters high. They are supplied with electricity and heat to provide a good working environment even when it is cold and wet outside. The tents also have special containers which are connected for the safety material and for personnel.

Since the exercise was held after a long time, things were kept simpler and the staff had no pressure in the form of external threats. “We do not practice all of it in the first time,” says Moback. “We will build up the complexity of the exercise in terms of technology and staff, but we should do so after proper planning.”

Read the full story here.

Image courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​

​Saab is participating at full strength during Defense & Security 2015, Asia's most important military event. Saab had an exciting and eventful experience so far with many dignitaries visiting its stall. 

Saab is presenting a series of products covering the air, naval and land. Chief Test Pilot, Richard Ljungberg talked about the Gripen fighter system yesterday at the event, focussing on its combat effectiveness, mission flexibility and lifecycle cost control.

The event ends tomorrow. Have a look at the snapshots.​

dns1_2015.jpgdns2_2015.jpgdns4_2015.jpgChief Test Pilot, Richard Ljungberg with dignitaries 
dns2_2015.jpgVisitors taking pictures of the Gripen fighter

dnssix2015.jpgSaab team at the Defense & Security 2015

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Over 36,000 personnel from over 30 different countries are participating in the Trident Juncture, 2015. The exercise is being held in parts of Spain, Portugal and Italy. NATO and non-NATO members are taking part in the exercise which encompasses land, air and naval domains.

The Swedish Fighter unit comprises of personnel and aircraft from the F21 wing and support from the F17 wing of the SwAF. The Swedish Gripen will fly with F-16s and F-17s from Finland, Norway, USA and Portugal. As a standard, all nations can fly groups of 4 fighters, 2-3 times a day, as part of the exercises. Transport aircraft like the C-130 and C-160, along with Search and Rescue helicopters, paratroopers and air-to-air refueling aircraft are also part of the exercise. 

The exercise focuses on a variety of roles including aerial refueling, air-to ground attack and aerial defence. The Trident Juncture exercises are very similar to the Arctic Challenge that was conducted in Luleå past spring.

Read the full story here​.

Brazil's Air Force Chief, General Nivaldo Luiz Rossato, together with the Swedish Air Force Chief, General Mats Helgesson, recently paid a visit to the Skaraborg Wing (F7) to know more about the Swedish Air Force training and operating system, reports Forsvarsmakten.

The Brazilian Air Force Chief landed at the Air Base in a Saab 340 and was welcomed with an aerial display of F7 Gripen fighters. The aerial display was led by display pilot Peter Fällén.

Colonel Michael Cherinet, Squadron Chief at Skaraborg Wing took General Rossato on a tour of the Wing and gave an overview of the roles and responsibilities of the Squadron. The tour ended with a visit at the Gripen unit where General Rossato got a hang of the pilot training process and also experienced a Gripen simulator .

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten

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South African company Pretoria Metal Pressings (PMP) will locally manufacture cannon ammunition for the SAAF Gripen, reports Defence Web​.

Phaladi Petje, CEO of PMP says that the design and development on Gripen ammunition production is being finalized with Armscor and the South African Air Force (SAAF). Petje adds that PMP intends to work closely with Saab and gun manufacturer Mauser on ammunition.

Currently, the ammunition is made in Germany by automotive parts supplier Rheinmetall. According to the Defence Web report, a single 27 mm Mauser BK-27 cannon with 120 rounds of ammunition is added to a single seat Gripen. Ammunition available includes high explosive, armour piercing, armour piercing high explosive, semi armour piercing high explosive, and target practice.

PMP is a Denel Group company that specializes in small- and medium-calibre ammunition, brass products, detonics, power cartridges and mining drill-bits.

Read the full story here.

​Six SwAF Gripen fighters from the F21 Luleå flew to the Beja airbase in Portugal to participate in the Trident Juncture 2015. The journey took six hours and the jets were refueled twice in flight. 

The video shows the Gripen aircraft being refueled using the probe-and-drogue method where the Gripen fighter’s retractable probe meets the trailing drogue on the tanker and fuel is transferred. Once the transfer is complete, Gripen can retract the probe and the tanker can reel back the fuel line and drogue assembly before continuing the flight. 

Trident Juncture 2015, which is currently taking place in Italy, Spain and Portugal, is NATO’s largest exercise since 2012 with the participation of 9 partners, 28 allies, 18 observer nations and 12 international organizations. The exercise is defensive in nature with fictional scenarios and adversaries.

Flavio Teramoto, lead designer for the rear section of the Gripen E

Akaer will play a vital role in the production of parts of the rear section of Gripen E. Saab has collaborated with Akaer in Gripen development since 2009. The company is presently one of several partner companies involved in the technology transfer in the Brazilian contract for 36 Gripen fighters to Brazil.

Akaer is an engineering consulting firm with special expertise in the Aerospace area. It was founded in 1992. In 2007 when the cooperation between Saab and Akaer started, Akaer employed approximately 70 people, today there are over 300 employees and growing.

“Our collaboration has gone really well. An important job for me as a technical leader and responsible for partner collaboration with Akaer, has been to build and strengthen the team. This means finding functioning ways of collaborating, despite time differences and distances. We also have the cultural dimension and differing views on leadership”, says Erik Jylltorp, Rear Section Technical Leader, Gripen E, Aeronautics.

Read the full story here.

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