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The Smart Fighter

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Last Saturday, Czech Gripen presented a flare-filled performance for the visitors at   the Yeovilton Air Day in Somerset. Besides the five hour flying display by participants from across the globe, the Air Day also boasted of several ground attractions, from engineering fairs to the latest defence technology exhibitions.


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While developing a fighter, every single stage is important. Aircraft mechanic Maritza tells us about the various stations involved and how her job rotates around these stations to build the Gripen C/D fighter. 

“The final assembly consists of three stations. And it takes Gripen C/D 72 days to go through final assembly and after that, the fighter is ready to be painted,” she says.

During the first stage of assembly, the small but integral parts, such as cables and hydraulics are installed. It is necessary to have these in place before the bigger parts are installed since it helps in the optimization of space in the aircraft. According to Maritza, this is the most challenging station of the assembly process, since there are so many parts to install, almost 18000 articles in all.

The second stage of assembly sees the engine, windshield, canard, inlet and canopy being installed. These are the larger parts of the Gripen. After the installation, a functional test of the whole aircraft is performed, which is the third station. For Maritza, this station is the most fun because she gets to see how everything is working.

Gripen is assembled by referring to digital drawings, a deviation from printed ones. According to Maritza, says that there are notable advantages to using the digital medium, such as getting a 360° view of the aircraft and removing the details you don’t need to mount your parts of the day.

Maritza has been working at ...

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Complex missions require training and preparation. Held at the Caslav Air Force Base,  Sky Avenger 2018 was one of the advanced training exercises which helped Czech Gripen pilots prepare for missions. Czech and American pilots carried out 153 drills for air raids and aerial refueling during the exercise which concluded on June 29. 

Aside from the Czech Gripen, the L-159 Alca, the Mi-24/35 and Mi-171 (Czech) helicopters, seven F-16 Fighting Falcon and two KC-135 tankers (American) participated in this year’s Sky Avenger,clocking in over 215 flight hours.

The aircraft were put through complex missions simulating real life scenarios from potential foreign operations. Apart from the capabilities of the aircraft, the pilots’ were tested on their ability to coordinate with each other while using air navigation guides and AWACS early warning alliance aircraft.

The Czech army has strong relations with the Nebraska and Texan National Guard, and has been involved in various training events since 1993 with them, including a similar exercise in 2009. 

Read the full report here.        

Image Courtesy: afbcaslav.cz                                                       

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Six Hungarian Air Force Gripen practiced air-to-ground and air-to-air live firing last month at the Air Superiority 2018 exercise held at the Vidsel Air Base. 

The Vidsel Air Base, located just a hundred km from the Arctic Circle, is the largest firing range in Sweden as well as the European Union. Since it was their fourth visit, the Hungarian pilots were familiar with the air base. During their last visit in 2015, the pilots were trained for their first Baltic Air Policing mission. It was, in fact, their first major international mission in 70 years. 

The Air Superiority 2018 lasted for two weeks; in the first half of which the participants performed planned air-to-air and air-to-ground firings using AIM-9L type Sidewinder missiles, AGM-65 type air-to-ground missiles and Gripen's internal cannons.

One of the major goals of this exercise was to develop capabilities for Close Air Support missions which requires seamless coordination with forces on the ground.

Read the full story here

Image Courtesy: Dr. Lt. Colonel Toperczer​

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A full scale Gripen E model with the new Wide Area Display (WAD) was exhibited at the Rio International Defense Exhibition (RIDEX) by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) last week. 

According to Major Aviador Manoel Carneiro, who was in charge of the FAB booth, "We have brought a fully interactive concept here. Each visitor will be able to get to know the strategic projects of FAB”. The full size replica of Gripen provided visitors with the unique opportunity of examining the fighter closely. Miroslav Kocian, Major-General of the Republic of Slovakia, was among the visitors impressed by the new version of the Gripen and the high end technologies that go into the smart fighter. 

RIDEX, held between 27 and 29 June in Rio Janeiro, enabled participants to present cutting edge products and technologies. 

AEL Sistemas showcased, along with WAD, the NVIS / HUDTM (Advanced Night Vision System / Head Up Display). 

The event had 9000 visitors, 90 exhibitors and was attended by Defence Minister Joaquin Silva. ​

Read the full story here.

At the end of the day, the person at the controls makes all the difference. Brazilian pilots will go through classes, presentations and protocols to prepare for flight tests of the Brazilian fighter that will take place at the Embraer headquarters in Gavião Peixoto, São Paulo.

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Natural predator

The Swedish Air Force Gripen in a summer flight over its natural habitat – Sweden’s unique lakes and forests.

Photo: Rich Cooper/COAP Media

Czech Gripen and SwAF's historic aircraft, enthralled viewers at the 12th Airlift Day in Mladá Boleslav. Thousands of ardent viewers attended the event - which takes place every 2 years - to witness first-hand the transition and evolution of fighter aircraft over the years.

The event began in the morning, and as the visitors poured in, they could see an array of fighter aircraft from World War II to the present. Among modern aircraft, the line was led by Czech Gripen, whose many twists and turns and manoeuvres were applauded by the audience. Additionally, planes like Boeing 737 version M and Casa, a transport aircraft, made their appearances. 

Read the full story here

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As a part of the Saab Experience at the Farnborough International Airshow, on display will be a full scale replica of the unique fighter concept Gripen E. Visitors can experience the Gripen E flight simulator which will be equipped with the latest wide area display (WAD), demonstrating some of the advanced technology and operational effectiveness built into the fighter.

Other interesting exhibits to look out for at the Air Show includes the Tactical Operations Command & Control System, 9Air C4I, and also the latest generation missile RBS15 which will be on display for the very first time. 

Saab will also showcase its highly advanced surveillance solutions, Global Eye. It is equipped with Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) that combines air, ground and maritime situational awareness in a single platform. 

There will be daily mini-talk sessions where Saab will present the capabilities of the Gripen fighter, EW suit Arexis, Global Eye and give insights into the development of RBS 15 missile system. Among the key-note speakers and presenters would be Mr Petter Bedoire, Head of EW Marketing & Sales, Sales Director, Mr Fredrik Follin, Mr Miguel Svensson, Director of technical sales support for missiles systems and Gripen Test Pilot Mr Mikael Olsson. 

Farnborough Air Show will be held between 16 and 22 July. Saab will be exhibiting at Stand OE14.

Know more about Saab’s participation at the Farnborough Air Show here.

The Finnish Air Force celebrated their centenary on the 6th of March, 2018. During the weekend of 16-17 June, the Finnish Air Force held an Airshow at Tikkakoski, close to Jyväskylä, to commemorate the milestone.

One of the biggest crowd pullers was the Gripen Full Scale Replica. Around 30 000 people attended the air-show so as to get a closer look at the aircraft. Display pilot “Sunshine” from Swedish Air Force Wing F21 putting up a scintillating show, much to the delight of the audiences.
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