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The South African Air Force’s (SAAF) Air Capability Demonstration (ACD) was held at the Roodewal weapons range, Limpopo province on the 10thof September. The Roodewal range, according to SAAF officials, is one of the few places in the world where live weapons can be safely fired seven minutes after takeoff.

The ACD, an annual program, is a rare opportunity to observe close range live aircraft firing and to test the SAAF’s capabilities. The exercise keeps the South African National Defense Forces (SANDF) ready for emergencies and focuses on collaboration and inter-operability among all branches of the SANDF.

The demonstration consisted of recon missions by the Gripen, also featuring its capabilities of evading anti-air defenses, simulated dog fights, cargo drops by the C-130 Hercules, tactical surveillance and insertion of ground forces. Deputy Chief of the SAAF, Major General Gerald Malinga said that the ACD was a chance for the senior command and staff course members to see air power at the strategic and operational levels of war and showcase how air power is applied.

The demonstration concluded with a flyby including all the participating aircraft with remarkable flare releases by the Gripen and C-130.

Read more for a detailed account of the demonstration.

In an interview with, Czech Air Force pilot Lieutenant Milan Nykodym talks about the recently completed Iceland Air Policing mission, low flying and the Gripen fighter system.

On being asked if there was any difference in flying over Iceland and the Czech Republic, Lieutenant Nykodym says it was the weather. In Iceland, the weather is very unpredictable. “It is important to monitor the weather conditions, especially the wind strength and direction, wave height, combined with the speed of the wind,” he says.

Lieutenant Nykodym says that they have been trained to eject over sea, adding, that every year, they attend water survival training with life jackets and boats. In Iceland, one may have to eject over freezing cold water. Hence one needs to keep warm survival gear as well. 

Lieutenant Nykodym has flown the L-159 aircraft before. According to him, Gripen's performance is different as compared to other aircraft. 

“It is a skillful fighter with better weapon systems and radar,” he says.

Read the full interview here.

This is a step closer to the Brazilian skies. The Brazilian Gripen NG partnership will now enter into its next phase as the contact has now become effective. ​

On 27 October 2014 Saab announced the conclusion of a contract with the Brazilian Federal Government for the development and production of 36 Gripen NG aircraft. The contract has now come into effect as all required conditions have been fulfilled. Today, the order value of approximately SEK39.3 billion is booked by Saab as order intake. Gripen NG deliveries to the Brazilian Air Force will be undertaken from 2019 to 2024

The associated industrial co-operation contract (including technology transfer to Brazilian industries), which was signed in October 2014, also comes into effect today.

“Through the Gripen NG programme, we continue to build on the industrial relations between Brazil and Sweden. I am confident that this important programme will serve as a platform for new business and contribute to the growth of both the Brazilian and Swedish industry,” says Marcus Wallenberg, Chairman of Saab’s Board of Directors.

“This important milestone marks the formal start to the Brazilian Gripen NG programme. We will now work full speed ahead to ensure timely deliveries of Gripen NG to Brazil. Our partnership with Brazilian industry strengthens Saab’s position in Latin America and supports our strategy for growth through industrial co-operation,” says Håkan Buskhe, President and CEO of Saab.

Read more here.

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Last week, Swedish Air Force pilots trained for night flying as a part of the Air Force Exercise 2015, reports

During the Exercise, the 212 Fighter Squadron which was stationed at the Ärna air base located at the north-west of Stockholm, had a busy time. The squadron was divided into two fighter groups during the exercise. One was the day-time fighter group and the other was the night-time fighter group. Both the Groups were assigned four Gripen fighters each. Here are a few images from the night flying exercises conducted by the fighter group.

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten

Read the full story here​.

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The Air Force Exercise 2015 came to an end last week. The exercise which focuses on national defense, was conducted in the south-eastern Sweden including Gotland.

“At the Air Force Exercise 2015, we practice the whole chain, from the air tactical command orders to the execution of the mission. The exercise is intense and we operate round the clock. On the first day of the exercise, we were given a war like scenario, and our task was to stop the enemy, says SwAF pilot Stefan Kaarle.

According to Stefan Kaarle, the exercise is a good platform to practice everything that can be done. The participating pilots get to learn about their strengths and weaknesses as well.

The first Air Force Exercise was held in 2010. It is part of a continuous series of exercises over time aimed at increasing Sweden’s national defence capability.

About 1500 personnel participated in the exercise. Air Force Exercise 2015 was conducted between 28 August and 1 September.

Read the full storyhere.

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​

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On 3 September 2015, two Hungarian Air Force Gripen fighters completed their first flight in the Baltic airspace. The Gripen pilots carried out a control task in Lithuanian airspace, flying at an altitude of 150 meters, at a speed of 500 km/h.

According to the Hungarian Government website, the participating personnel from the HuAF have been training recently to get ready for what can be described as the most difficult and the most challenging mission of the Hungarian Air Force in the last 70 years. 

The Hungarian team has taken over the Baltic Air Policing Mission from the Royal Norwegian Air Force. As a part of this mission, the Hungarian team may receive real-life alerts (Alpha Scramble) and training alerts (Tango Scramble). The contingent, consisting of four Gripen fighters and more than 100 personnel including pilots and ground staff, will play the lead role in this mission for the next four months. 

Hungary is the 16th NATO Ally to participate in the Baltic Air Policing Mission. The country will send its contingent again next year for the airspace protection of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The mission will last for four months.

Read the full story here.

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Aerial and static displays of multi-role supersonic fighter Gripen were among the highlights of Slovak International Air Fest (SIAF) 2015. This year Saab, the producer of Gripen and general partner of the event, offered the visitors a unique chance to get into the cockpit of a full-scale replica of the aircraft and see the world as pilots do.

Swedish Air Force Gripen participated in the aerial programme on Sunday. Visitors who wanted to experience the role of the Gripen pilot first-hand were welcome in the Saab Experience Hangar, which offered the opportunity of flying and shooting in various scenarios on a state-of-the-art simulator. Other attractions included simulators of the RBS 70 man-portable air-defence system and Saab's Small Weapons Indoor Trainer (SAVIT).

"I am happy that Gripen is so popular among visitors of SIAF, and we hope they will have the chance to admire it soon in the colours of Slovak Air Force. Our aircraft is an excellent solution for big countries, as proven by orders from Brazil and South Africa; yet small and mid-sized countries are those who can most benefit from its unparalleled focus on cost/performance ratio and low operational costs," said Daniel Boestad, Head of Gripen, Central and Eastern Europe. 

SIAF 2015 took place in Sliač on August 29 – 30. Hot sunny weather over the weekend attracted nearly 140,000 visitors. The programme showcased a number of aerobatic performances from renowned teams such as Frecce Tricolori or Patrouille de France, as well as presentation of modern military ...

The  Hungarian Air Contingent has arrived at the Šiauliai Air Base with four Gripen fighter aircraft.

The ceremony for the 39th rotation of the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission took place on the 31 August at the Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania. Military personnel from Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary, Norway and Italy were present at the ceremony where Lt. Col. TamásFekete, commander of the Hungarian contingent, was handed the symbolic key to the Baltic air space by Lt. Col. Ivan Anderson of the Norwegian Air Force and Col. Vito Cracas of the Italian Air Force. 

“The Hungarian soldiers are determined, highly skilled and fully prepared to fulfill the Baltic Air Policing mission,” said Lt. Col. Fekete. “The goal of the Hungarian Detachment is to continue the excellent job of our allies, and to do our best to keep the safe and peaceful environment for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.”

The Hungarian detachment consists of over 90 troops and 4 Gripen aircraft. Hungary is the 16th ally nation to take up this mission which started back in 2004. This is the first time that Hungary is undertaking this mission with backup from the German air force situated at the Ämari air base in Estonia. 

The 39th rotation of the Baltic Air Policing commenced on the 1 September and will last till the end of the year. 

Read the full story here​.


Fighter acquisitions are not just about the fighter itself  – major contracts involve extensive financial packages. Gripen, of course, comes in a package offering unrivalled industrial cooperation and technology transfer.

To download the calendar, click here​.

​Eight Czech Gripen pilots are back to their home base after a successful completion of the Iceland air policing task. Over 70 training flights were conducted as a part of this mission.

The Gripen fighters were accompanied by an Italian KC-767 tanker on their 3.5 hour flight to the home base. It was almost a month long mission that started in the last week of July.

One of the fighters on its way to the Keflavik international airport

Transport Aircraft A-319CJ AIRBUS at Keflavik international airport

Czech contingent ready to receive the Minister of Defence Martin Stropnický

Czech Air Force Commander, Colonel Martin Nezbeda reports to the Minister of Defence
At the end of the mission, Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnický went to meet the participating Czech contingent. The Minister said that the Gripen fighters not only patrolled the land but also the strip of sea around. He added that since Russian activities were rather alarming earlier this year, patrolling was all the more crucial. 

Defense-Aerospace quoted Stropnický saying, “For us, it was also a training and testing of our pilots in a different environment, in different conditions over the sea.” 

During the mission, the goal of the participating Czech personnel was to provide airborne surveillance and interception capabilities to meet Iceland’s peacetime preparedness needs. The mission is usually of three to four weeks, conducted three times a year. Besides aerial surveillance, the deployed aircraft are also used to train NATO and Icelandic support personnel so that the Alliance is ready ...

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