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The Smart Fighter

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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.

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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.

Matti Vanhanen, Finland's ex prime minister says that Finland should consider Gripen to replace its ageing Hornet fighter jets.

"If the aircraft meet the required performance demands, and the planes can be equipped with necessary weapon systems, then the purchase would have a positive impact on fostering defence co-operation between Finland and Sweden," Vanhanen says.

Finnish Air Force’s F/A-18 C/D Hornet aircraft are scheduled to be retired between 2025 and 2030. A request for quotations for new jets is yet to be sent out by Finland.

Read the full story here.

​Royal Thai Air Force Chief Treetos Sonjaeng recently paid a visit to the Wing 7 Air Base and had lunch with the Gripen technicians and support staff.

Image Courtesy: RTAF​

​For the last few weeks, Gripen pilots at Kecskemét have been busy with night flying missions and testing the night vision devices.

The pilots were given a theoretical training by their Swedish colleagues before their first night flying missions.

The MH59​ report says that the purchase of night vision devices and these trainings will enhance the combat readiness of the Air Force. It will also increase the participation of Hungarian Gripen fighters in international exercises.

Read the full story here.

Photo: Istvan “TopiDoc” Toperczer​ 

The first group of 50 Brazilian professionals, who reached Sweden a few months back, is now actively participating in the Gripen NG development.

For a Brazilian engineer, snow covered hangars and sunsets at around 3 pm are things that are in stark contrast to life in their home country. Marcelo, one of the 50 professionals from Brazil, is however delighted. Marcelo is an Embraer engineer since 1998. It will be his first chance to work on the development of a supersonic jet.

"One of the differences is that in supersonic flights, the temperature of the vehicle is high (as a result of kinetic heating caused by the friction between the outside air and the surface of the aircraft) which means the cooling capacity of the system is important," he says.

Marcelo is working with Erik Israelsson, systems engineer at Saab, who cannot hide his excitement of working with colleagues from a different country. Erik says that short courses have been created for the Brazilian engineers."I think it will be very useful to work with new people in the 'Saab way."

By 2022, more than 350 Brazilian professionals will work on Gripen NG project in Sweden.

Read the full story here.

A fighter aircraft should be able to operate 24 hours. However, night flying is slightly different and comes with its own set of challenges. Hence, night flying trainings are extremely important. 

With the integration of the latest in technology, Gripen is able to detect and destroy a wide variety of targets, even at night or in poor weather conditions. As the human eyes have only limited night vision capabilities, night vision goggles are crucial. The usage of night vision devices goes back as far as World War II. Technological advancements over the years have made these devices more accurate and user friendly for today’s fighter pilots.  

Besides being Night Vision Goggles (NVG) compatible, Gripen is also equipped with high intensity LED landing lights that are NVG friendly and emit significantly less infra-red radiation than a standard halogen light. The New Generation Gripen fighters will be integrated with LED landing lights that will deliver a peak intensity greater than 200,000cd and taxi lights that will have a peak intensity performance greater than 27,000cd.

Along with technology, getting used to the skies during night hours is also very important. The pilots need to get used to visibility difference, extra weight of night vision goggles and limited pilotage (as compared to day-time). 

The Swedish Air Force Gripen pilots conducted night-time missions last week. For the Norbotten Wing, October usually marks the start of the night flying training sessions. The training usually continues for six months with a dedicated day every week. 

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