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The Smart Fighter

Quick Launch


Last week, South African Air Force Gripen completed the actual launch of an A-Darter missile. The missile successfully reached the target, which was an unmanned aircraft flying at a 600 meters higher altitude, reports

As a part of this test, the rocket was launched towards a remotely-controlled aircraft in order to test the maneuverability of the missile. The heat-guided weapon is designed to perform while sustaining up to 100Gs, with targets within a 12 miles radius. The A-Darter’s sensor-eye can spot the difference between the target aircraft’s infrared signature and flares the bogey might launch to fool the missile.

Portal Brazil quoted the project manager for Brazil, Colonel Julius Caesar Cardoso Tavares, saying that the main feature of the latest generation of missiles is their ability to perform high-performance maneuvers.

"The guidance sensor detects the target and the missile also calculates the best route," said the Colonel.

A-Darter does not have small wings that are used for maneuvering. Instead, it can direct the thrust of its rocket engine, performing maneuvers while sustaining up to 100Gs. 

The report adds that the A-Darter is now 90 percent ready. South Africa’s Denel Dynamics is the leading company of the project.

Read the full story: Future Brazilian Gripen Missile Successfully Fired In South Africa


During the Cold War, Sweden heavily relied on conducting combat missions with dispersed assets. There were a number of dispersed air bases that the Swedish Air Force used, including regular as well as shorter runways that were about 800m by 16m.

It was important to develop an aircraft that could take off rapidly and take-off and land on those short and narrow road bases. STOL (short take-off and landing) capabilities were therefore needed.

Gripen was hence designed to use roads as temporary runways, allowing the Swedish Air Force to use logistical flexibility and speed to keep an invading force at bay.

Gripen’s minimal take off and landing is between 500 and 600 meters. After landing, a small ground crew can refuel and rearm a Gripen in ten minutes. To change an engine takes less than an hour and can be done by one specialist officer and five trained conscripts.

Read more about Gripen’s capabilities here​.​

“In 2014, an agreement was reached with Brazil regarding development and production of 36 Gripen NG. This, together with Sweden’s order for 60 Gripen in 2013, makes Saab one of few aircraft manufacturers that are developing a new generation of fighters. This has strengthened Gripen’s position in the global market,” says Saab President and CEO Håkan Buskhe.

 While presenting its Year End Report 2014, Saab maintained that the year 2014 saw challenging market scenarios and there was a strong order backlog.  

“It was a successful and challenging year for Saab,” Buskhe said, adding that 2014 was a year when the company continued to build for the future. Thanks to a long-term strategy and focus on efficiency, the company is well positioned.

Read more about Saab Year End report here.

Watch the webcast of CEO Håkan Buskhe and CFO Magnus Örnberg presenting the results here.

Like Czech Republic, Slovakia may also consider leasing Gripen to replace its existing fleet of fighter aircraft, reports

After meeting with his Swedish counterpart Peter Hultqvist, Slovakia’s Defence Minister Martin Glváč told the journalists, "The Slovak Republic cannot afford to buy new fighters. Sweden has offered the most well-balanced variant in terms of flight hours rental, though other alternatives are still in the frame.”

“I would call this day a milestone in negotiations on the technical, legislative and financial options for carrying out this project,” Glváč added.

According to an IHS Jane’s report last year, leasing of Gripen fighters could also offer the possibility of conducting joint training, weapon systems acquisition, and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) to potentially decrease the overall costs of the programme.

Last year, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Sweden also signed a letter of intent agreeing to co-operate on using the Saab Gripen fighter.

Read the full story: Slovakia is negotiating with Sweden to lease Gripen fighters


Designed for easy deployment at any air base, Gripen has a tiny logistic footprint. It can be turned around in 10 minutes by only five people, and the entire engine can be swapped in the field in less than one hour.

To download the calendar, click here​.

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Threat scenarios are changing everyday, giving ample reason for the operational requirements to change as well. Users no longer want a specific aircraft for each operational role. They look for a system that can undertake all roles. 

Gripen NG is among the first aircraft to focus on more than air-to-air combat. This means  that it can cover a full range of mission requirements, saving customers the cost of  owning separate bombers and fighters. The fighter aircraft can seamlessly change between roles within a single sortie if needed. Gripen NG can perform a wide range of missions, from offensive and defensive counter strikes to air policing and tactical air reconnaissance.

Here are some of the important things you ought to know about Gripen.

Information Support

During a live mission, knowledge means everything to a fighter aircraft pilot. It is very important for the pilot to identify enemy assets and share intelligence with wingmen. What is equally important is that all the information should be available in a clear, clutter free way; only the required information should be visible on the screen.

Gripen NG is equipped with MFS-EW (Electronic Warfare system), which is a complete, highly integrated suite that includes radar warning receiver, missile approach warning, electronic support measures and countermeasures. 

The next generation fighter aircraft also has features like IRST which provides passive situation awareness at long range against air and ground targets and ES-05 Raven AESA radar which tracks air-to-air and air-to-surface targets, simultaneously and independently.


The aircraft ...

Defence Minister of Sweden, Peter Hultqvist visited the 21st Tactical Air Base at Čáslav last week, reports

Mr. Hultqvist was accompanied by Czech Deputy Minister of Defence Daniel Koštoval and Commander of Czech Air Force General Libor Štefánik.

Czech Deputy Commander Colonel Ondřej Rejman talked about the role of the Base in the protection of the air space of the Czech Republic within the framework of the NATO integrated system of anti-aircraft and anti-missile defence (NATINAMDS) and thanked Swedish Air Force for the training assistance.

“Your tactical simulation center, which helps in a simplified training of pilots and technical personnel, was perhaps the inspiration behind the Czech Tactical Simulation Center, Pardubice. Equally important was the primary air refueling training under the supervision of the Swedish instructors, which expanded deployment options for the Czech Tactical Air Force in overseas operations.

"We appreciate the support of the Swedish team here at our base which became, through almost a ten year period, an integral part of the 211th squadron. Cooperation with you is on an extraordinary level," Colonel Rejman adds.

Read the full story: Čáslavská základna se prezentovala ministru obrany Švédského království

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Czech Air Force Gripen fighters will be participating in a number of exercises this year which include Ample Strike, Baltic Eye and Lion Effort, reports Prague Post.

Last week, the Czech Government approved the list of allied trainings in which its Armed Forces will participate this year.

Ample Strike 2015 is one of the largest training exercises that will take place in Czech Republic 2015. The exercise will have forward air controllers and aircraft crews testing their cooperation. Ample Strike 2015 will be held in September.

Czech Republic will also host the tri-annual exercise Lion Effort starting 11 May this year, in which various Gripen operating air forces will participate. Lion Effort presents a great opportunity for the participants to not just train together but to also share best practices and operational know-how with each other.

Besides these, Czech Armed Forces will also participate in a certification exercise of the Visegrad Group battlegroup, and a number of NATO events including the Baltic Eye and Trident Juncture.  

Read the full story: Czech army to takes part in big allied exercises

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Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnicky recently suggested launching a joint Central European center for training the Gripen fighter pilots, reports​​.

According to the report, the center would train not just Czech Gripen pilots, but Hungarian and Slovak pilots as well. 

Czech Air Force has been using Gripen fighters for more than a decade now, while Slovakia and Hungary (which is also operating Gripen) have shown interest in launching a joint pilots training center.

Stropnicky stresses that a potential Slovak acquisition of the Gripen aircraft would support the plan to build the pilot training centre in the Czech Republic.

“It would be advantageous for us; we could be sharing our know-how, our training capacities”, Stropnicky says.

If Slovakia chooses Gripen, a joint protection of its air space with that of the Czech Republic would also come into consideration as it is a subject of negotiations from both sides for several months now.

“The possibility is there, now it really depends on the decision of the Slovak government”, Stropnický says.

Gripen fighter aircraft were on static as well as aerial display at the recently celebrated Royal Thai Armed Forces Day 2015.

Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand, took the opportunity to congratulate the Royal Thai Army on being a pillar to protect and maintain national security.

Thailand honors the Royal Thai Armed Forces on 18 January every year. This day is also remembered in commemoration of King Naresuan, who, on 18 January 1592, won an Elephant Battle against Minchit Sra (grandson of Bayinnaung). 

Royal Thai Armed Forces Day is celebrated every year with massive military parades in various parts of Thailand. The Royal Family of Thailand organizes the main celebration in Bangkok.

Read the full story here.​

Image Courtesy: Wing7rtaf

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