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Saab will intensify its flight trials once it has the two new Gripen E prototypes ready, reports Jane's. The ever evolving aircraft is now set to get two new prototypes, according to Saab’s head of Aeronautics, Jonas Hjelm.

Last year, the first prototype of the Gripen, dubbed 39-8, was revealed. That is soon to be followed up by the 39-9 and 39-10. Both these prototypes have already left the production line at Linkoping, and are currently undergoing verification ahead of their first flights, which is scheduled for 2019.

Jonas Hjelm outlined the necessity for the new prototypes – the 39-9 will be a testbed for the tactical systems, whereas the 39-10 is being designed to be the first production-standard airframe. “The avionics in 39-9 and 39-10 are almost completely different from 39-8, and this shows that our development concept for the aircraft works,” said Hjelm. Incidentally, the 39-7, which was the Gripen demonstrator, is continuing to serve as a test platform throughout the flight trials.

Read full story here.

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Magnus Lewis-Olsson, President at Saab Market Area Europe, chatted at length with Vago Muradian of Defense & Aerospace Report about Gripen E flight tests, weapon integration and technology sharing at the recently held Farnborough International Airshow.

Lewis-Olsson revealed that flight testing for Gripen E is on schedule, and Saab is pushing hard to meet its timelines. Prototype aircraft JAS 39-9 and 39-10 are expected to see the light of day early next year, and with every test the aircraft is getting closer to the operational aircraft. The focus during testing in near future will be on avionics and cockpit.

One of the key elements of the Gripen E is the open architecture of the aircraft – which allows Saab to compartmentalize the flight safety control systems in a bid to increase efficiency. This process is helpful not only because it increases mission safety, but it also extends more control to the users of the aircraft, helping them ‘own’ it as per their requirements. 

Talking about weapon integration, Magnus Lewis-Olsson also outlined the huge impact that the missile Meteor has had on the functionality and prowess of Gripen. The RBS-15 – ‘Gungnir’ was yet another projectile weapon on display, a pioneer of the anti-ship missile contingent. The Gripen on display was loaded to full capacity, with different weapons, to showcase the fighter’s excellent weapons integration capability.

Watch the full interview here​.

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Saab is developing the RBS15 Mk4, the next generation, air-launched variant of RBS15 anti-ship missile for Gripen. Dubbed as RBS15 Gungnir, the developmental missile system was unveiled at the Farnborough Air Show 2018 recently.

The RBS15 Gungnir will also be integrated into Swedish Navy’s Visby-class corvettes, but Gripen E is the priority.

“Everything is driven by the Gripen program,” said Michael Höglund, Vice President and Head of Marketing and Sales for missiles systems at Saab Dynamics.

Currently, Sweden is operating RBS15F, a 1980s version of this weapon which will soon become obsolete owing to a discontinuation of its maintenance support. Hence the development of RBS15 Gungnir is a priority for Saab.

The name Gungnir is from Scandinavian mythology and refers to the Norse god Odin’s spear which never missed its target. With the new configurations, this version of RBS15 will have an extended range and anti-jam capabilities. Not just that, it will be able to travel just above sea level and therefore avoid detection.

“RBS15 Gungnir is offered in both air-launched and surface-launched configurations that offer greatly improved capabilities, compared to other missile systems on the market. With an improved range to more than 300 km and highly advanced target seeker, it gives the capability to engage any target, in all conditions,” says Görgen Johansson, Senior Vice President and Head of Saab Business Area Dynamics.

Saab was contracted by FMV in 2017 to deliver RBS15 Gungnir. Saab aims to deliver the missile by ...

"The real secret of Gripen is its architecture. We have separated the operational and the flight functions. So, if you want to change something in future, it can be easily done without affecting the rest of the aircraft," says Robert Hewson, Head of Communications at Saab Asia Pacific.

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"The pilot flying Gripen E will have an undeniable edge,” says Saab’s Head of Business Area, Aeronautics, Jonas Hjelm, at the Farnborough Air Show 2018."

Jonas gave an update on the Gripen E development programme at the airshow and talked about the benefits of key design decisions (taken in the beginning of Gripen E programme) for the next two Gripen E test aircraft.

“Today’s threats are not tomorrow’s and modern fighters could be viewed as a network of flying supercomputers seeking to outperform their opponents. So we designed Gripen’s smart architecture to ensure that we can introduce the latest powerful computers and other hardware swiftly and simply which is unmatched in this industry,” he said.

Changes can be easily made to a Gripen E fighter without affecting its flight critical systems. As a result, new capabilities have been constantly added to the two test aircraft 39-9 and 39-10.

Jonas also announced at the Farnborough that Gripen E recently undertook its first flight equipped with an IRIS-T air to air missile on each wingtip, and four pylons under the wings and the centre pylon on the fuselage.

“Gripen flew as expected and we are very pleased with the flight test results. During the flight, the aircraft carried out a number of maneuvers and actions to verify the flying and handling qualities of the aircraft with this extended configuration.”

On being asked by Jane's if Saab is open to collaboration on any future fighter project, ...

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Last year, Czech pilot Ivo Kardoš from the 211th Tactical Squadron at Čáslav Air base, won the award for the best flying demonstration by an overseas participant at RIAT. This year again, the Czech Gripen pilot performed a spectacular display at RIAT.

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With every passing year, the signal environment for Electronic Warfare (EW) systems is becoming more and more complex. There are more signals out there, both military and civilian. Hence it becomes imperative to have a smart EW systems which can quickly differentiate a threat signal from other signals.

All around us, there is an Electromagnetic (EM) spectrum which covers all energy radiated by means of electromagnetic waves including radio communication and radar transmission. According to Inga Bergstrom, Sales Director of Gripen EW, Electronic Warfare is the combat for control of the EM spectrum.

“EW may not be the primary function of a fighter, but it is an enabler to conduct a successful mission,” Inga says.

Some of the tactics used by pilots of fighter aircraft to avoid detection include silent flight by reducing emissions, or by flying at low heights. Even then, detection by enemy devices is a possibility, and in the event that Gripen E’s location has been compromised, EW system provides countermeasure techniques, such as Dispensing – in which decoys are released into the air, creating a false target to fool the enemy.

Elaborating on the features of Gripen’s EW system, Inga says that it is all about listening, detecting, identifying, and if you are detected first, about deterring, defending and defeating. 

EW has been an important part of Gripen from the beginning. Today, Saab has a small, compact system that does a number of things while also reducing drag and increasing ...

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Training at a different air base has its own set of advantages. For the ground staff, clearing the fighter from a different base requires some change in routine. For pilots, a new air base like Gotland could mean practicing close to the Baltic Sea, which is why this training was important for SwAF Gripen pilots. 

As a part of this exercise, Gripen pilots practiced the dissemination concept in which fighters were spread out in different directions, making it difficult for the opponents to detect them.

"We have, among other things, carried out air combat exercises with two other nations, France and Spain. Our Gripen fighters practised with and against Spanish Eurofighters and French Mirage fighters," says Jörgen Axelsson, divisional manager at 172 Stridsflyg division.

Read full story here.

Image courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​

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