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The Smart Fighter

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Denel Dynamics has started the production of A-Darter imaging infrared (IIR) short-range air-to-air missile (SRAAM) for the South African Air Force, reports IHS Jane's. The missiles are being produced to arm the SAAF Gripen and the Hawks.

Denel Dynamics won the five-year contract for the production of the A-Darter air-to-air missile in March this year. The missiles have been developed under SAAF’s Project Kamas which commenced in 2011.

The A-Darter is a fifth-generation short-range air-to-air missile to be used during aerial combat with the new generation of fighter aircraft. It features extended range and targeting and countermeasures resistance with a 180° field of view. SRAAM’s solid fuel rocket motor has a low launch signature which makes it difficult to be detected.

According to IHS Jane’s​, Denel Dynamics intends to deliver the first training missiles to the SAAF by September 2016. The operational missiles will be delivered during the year 2017.

Gripen has the perfect combination of superior operational performance, advanced high-tech solutions, true cost-efficiency and real industrial partnership – all combined in one, complete fighter system. This balanced combination of capabilities makes Gripen totally unique. 

Photo: Christo Crous and Stefan Kalm

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​A scheduled NATO evaluation of the Swedish Fighter Units took place last week. Here are a few snapshots.

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Sweden has been part of the NATO Rapid Response Force since 2013. According to Forsvarsmakten​, starting 1 January 2016, a unit (consisting of the 211th Fighter Division and the 2nd Airbase Battalion) will be in readiness for the NATO Rapid Response Force.

This kind of evaluation is carried out prior to preparedness to check if the task force and equipment are up to NATO standards. As per the report, a government approval is required for the Swedish task force to become operational.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Norrbottens Flygflottilj F 21

Last Wednesday, at the Skaraborg Wing, a readiness check exercise was conducted at 4 am, reports Forsvarsmakten. Only a few of the participating staff were informed about the exercise beforehand.

The exercise was planned several months in advance and the preparations were kept a secret from most of the staff at the Wing. As the exercise started, armed Gripen took to the skies and all the participating men and women including the ground personnel knew their assigned tasks.

Such exercises ensure that the Wing's personnel are fully prepared for any urgent mission.​

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten

Gripen NG’s AESA radar will be placed on a “repositioner,” a rotating mount. According to a news report in, the repositioner is very resourceful as it gives the radar a ±100-degrees field of view around the nose.

The report adds that the ability to take a beyond-visual-range missile shot, then turn 90 degrees, while still providing mid-course updates for the missile fired and keep situational awareness at its peak, opens up many tactical advantages for Gripen NG crew.

For example, when the enemy fighter is above you, and trying to lock you up in the look-down-shoot down scenario, the repositioner can rotate the radar to gain an extra azimuth to continue scanning the area over 90 degrees off its nose, enabling the pilot to not lose situational awareness even for a moment and take actions at the right time. 

Read the full story here.

Missiles and missile systems manufacturer MBDA has offered its Meteor BVRAAM (Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile) for the Royal Thai Air Force Gripen fighters.

According to a Thai Military and Asian Region repor​t, the Meteor BRAAM production is underway and should enter service on Gripen aircraft of the Swedish Air Force by the end of this year. The Meteor capability is a part of Saab's latest MS20 (Materiel System 20) combat systems update.

The report says the Meteor has been designed to counter the most sophisticated airborne threats of the 21st century. As per MBDA, the kinematic performance of a Meteor is three to six times higher than that of the current air missiles of its type. The Swedish Gripen fighters will be the first to get this missile, followed by the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Dassault Rafale in the coming years.

Read the full story here​.

What makes the Gripen NG development unique and cost effective is a combination of a model based design and reduced parts count. Both ensure that the Gripen E development is on time and in sync with the latest technologically advanced processes.

The model based development ensures that design errors are detected early and not late in the development process. The system allows verifications to be conducted in simulators and as a result, fewer test flights are needed. So, while almost 4,000 sorties were required to prepare the C/D model, the new test platforms should fly only a combined 1,200 times.

According to Lars Ydreskog, Saab’s head of aerospace operations, a model-based design technique is generating huge benefits for the Gripen E project.

“You can show the operator how they will do something in 2023, before you’ve done anything in the development,” he notes.

At the Dubai Air Show 2015, Head of Saab’s aeronautics business area Ulf Nilsson said that Saab has dramatically reduced the number of parts in Gripen development through modular design. 

For example, for Gripen NG, currently one machine part is being used to manufacture a radar frame, but the number of machine parts was more than 20 for the same in Gripen C. This not only delivers cost efficiency, but also means that every new aircraft will be less complex and quicker to put together.

A lot of these efficiency measures come from Saab's experience in the Gripen’s conversion from the A/B to C/D. With every new ...

​At the Baltic Air Policing, the deployed Hungarian Air Force contingent is on a 24 hour alert. According to the Airbase Blog, Baltic Air Policing in the earlier years were conducted in harsh conditions. However, things have improved a lot with practice, preparedness building and introduction of four new hangars.  Have a look at these images to catch a glimpse of a typical day of the Hungarian contingent members at the Šiauliai Airbase.

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Gripen outside the hangar

Sign for the FOD (Foreign Object Damage) check. This ensures that any object that does belong in or near the aircraft has been removed. Examples of such objects include a stone or any tool that has been left behind by mistake.

The hangars are equipped with facilities like air conditioning systems and computers.

Engineers inspect everything including weapons and fuel before the aircraft is sent for the air policing.

The Hungarian tanks at the ready.

And so are the pilots.

A minibus takes the pilots to the aircraft.

Whether it is a training (Tango) or sharp (Alpha) alert, every second counts. The movements of the pilot are pre calculated and well rehearsed.

All set for the take off.

Up in the air in the lead role in Baltic Air Policing.

Image Courtesy: Airbase Blog 

As per a news report, the next generation Gripen is garnering a lot of interest and Saab is very optimistic about a new deal.

With the successful implementation of the Brazilian Gripen deal, Saab is looking forward to offer its star fighter to more potential customers. Ulf Nilsson, Head of Saab’s Aviation operations, expressed that Gripen attracted the attention of buyers at the recently concluded Dubai Air Show. 

“We received a lot of enquiries about our agreement with Brazil and on the development process of Gripen,” he says.

Nilsson did not mention any particular country but said that Saab is in conversation with several potential customers and a new Gripen deal may happen as early as the next year.

Saab has also received an order for the new ERIEYE radar system worth SEK 11 billion. The UAE purchased the new system and plans to mount it on Canadian made Bombardier aircraft. The ERIEYE system is capable of detecting activity in air, on land and at sea. 

Read the full story here.

​At the Dubai Air Show 2015, Ulf Nilsson, Head of Saab’s aeronautics business area, revealed that the New Generation Gripen has reached its final assembly stage. These are some of the images from the production process.



According to Ulf Nilsson, model based designing fits extremely well within the Gripen program.

“We had less [production line] feedback on the first aircraft than we have on the running production of the [Gripen] C/D,” he says in an interview with the Flightglobal​.

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