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The successful first flight of Gripen E in June 2017 was a check in the box and a step towards the first delivery to customers.

Photo: Stefan Kalm

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The Čáslav Air Base had sent four Gripen fighters to participate in the NATO Tiger Meet 2018 last month. With 47 flights in total, these fighters logged in more than 54 hours in the air.

One of these Gripen fighters, which had a motif that celebrated 100 years of the Czechoslovak Air Force, also won the third prize for the most beautiful camouflage.

​Take a look at how Czech Gripen with different motifs on their tails perform various exercises at the NATO Tiger Meet 2018.

​Gripen wowed the visitors at the SAAF Museum Airshow which was held at the Swartkops air force base earlier this month. The theme of this year's airshow was "The indomitable spirit".​ The airshow was organised at the Air Force Base in Swartkop, Pretoria.​

 


​General Micael Bydén, Supreme Commander Swedish Armed Forces, elaborates on how the MS20 upgrade has acted as a gamechanger over the Baltic Sea.

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For the first time ever, a Swedish contingent of eight Gripen fighters is in Estonia for an annual Swedish air exercise called AFX18.

These Gripen fighters are currently based at the Ämari Air Base. Flights have been scheduled through the day with aerial exercises mostly happening in the Swedish airspace.

The Estonian Air Force is also participating in the exercise. Commander of the Estonian Air Force, Colonel Riivo Valge said, "This is the first joint exercise between the air forces of Estonia and Sweden after the restoration of Independence. It is definitely an interesting challenge for both parties and it provides an excellent opportunity to practice cooperation with different countries."

Besides Gripen fighters, more than 90 personnel from the Swedish Air wing F 7 Sotenäs are also in Estonia. In addition to Sweden and Estonia, Finland, France and Spain are also taking part in the exercise.

AFX was first held in 2010. The exercise aims to develop high availability of the Swedish fighters and hone the participating pilots' skills to perform in high conflict scenarios for long durations. 

AFX18 will end on 31st May.

Read the full story here

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​

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Saab has recently received an order from Sweden’s Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) for modifications of the existing capabilities in the MS20 upgrade to SwAF Gripen fighters. The order that is valued at SEK 224 million concerns with the upgrade of the Gripen C/D system. 

The improvements will be made on the current MS20-configuration that was rolled out in 2016. It was a revolutionary upgrade that made Gripen the world’s first and only combat aircraft to be operational with the MBDA Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile system. 

The upgrades for this order specifies improvements to the aircraft’s ‘central capabilities’ which will include target acquisition, self-protection, communication and human-machine interaction, as well as a number of key support and training systems.

The MS20 is fundamentally a software upgrade that consists of a host of features – everything from a weapons system to a communication and maintenance system. The most significant ones, besides Meteor BVRAAM, were the integration of  Boeing GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) and the expansion of Gripen’s ISTAR capabilities. Apart from that, the initial upgrade also included the expansion of NATO-compatible data link system Link 16, a communication upgrade called Digital CAS (Close Air Support) and other major and minor enhancements. 

The work for the current updates will take place at Saab's facilities in Gothenburg, Järfälla, Linköping and Arboga, and will be delivered between 2018 and 2020. 

Read full story here

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"We are preparing for the next phase of flight trials – that is, external stores," said Jonas Hjelm, Head of Saab aeronautics at the recently held Annual Gripen seminar.

So far, all the milestones under the Gripen Brazil programme, like the launch of GDDN and SAM and the first flight of Gripen E, have been right on schedule.

“Since the first prototype's flight debut in June 2017, the programme has remained on track, with recent milestones including achieving supersonic flight,” he added.

The seminar which aims at giving an insight into the fighter, covered important areas like the continuous evolvement of the Gripen C/D platform, progress on cooperation with Brazil, and current and future sales prospects for Gripen.

You can watch the seminar here​.  

Read the full story here.

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"Saab Aeronáutica Montagens (SAM) will be part of Saab's global supply chain. So if we see opportunities, we would want to take part in projects for other products that serve not only markets in Latin America, but the rest of the world as well," said Jonas Hjelm, the global head of the aeronautics division at Saab. 

According to Mr. Hjelm, there are other prospective clients in South America that the facilities at SAM can potentially cater to, such as Colombia, who have reportedly shown a clear interest.

Located at the city of São Bernardo do Campo, in São Paulo state, Saab SAM will play a major role in the production of the next generation fighter jets in Brazil. However, the final assembly of the aircraft will take place at Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN). SAM will initially have 55 engineers and technicians, and by 2024 this number will increase to 200.​

Logistically, SAM is strategically located near Guarulhos International Airport, and is connected by major highways to the aeronautical clusters of Sao Jose dos Campos and Gaviao Peixoto, the city where GDDN is based at.

Read the full story here.

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During last week, Saab participated at the IDEB exhibition in Bratislava, Slovakia, where it presented a Gripen Full Scale Replica of Gripen.

During the exhibition, Saab announced that it will build a Gripen Support Centre in Slovakia if the country selects the NATO-interoperable Gripen multirole supersonic fighter aircraft to replace its aging fleet of Soviet-era MiG29 aircraft.  

According to Jonas Hjelm, Head of Business Area Aeronautics at Saab, the proposed Gripen Support Centre would create and sustain approximately 500 new high-tech jobs. “Slovakia would boost its defence and aerospace industries with the Gripen Support Centre,” he said.

Slovakia currently operates 12 MiG 29s that were upgraded in the year 2005. Its neighbour, the Czech Republic, has been successfully operating a fleet of 14 Gripen fighters for more than a decade now. As per a cooperation plan signed earlier by the two countries, if Slovakia selects Gripen, it will be able to share the cost of maintenance and pilot training with the Czech Republic.

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Commemorating 100 years of the Czechoslovak Air Force, one of the Czech Gripen fighters has got a makeover at the ongoing NATO Tiger Meet.

NATO Tiger Meet 2018 is an opportunity for participating aerial squadrons of NATO countries to get together and showcase their talents in some very challenging exercises. However, it’s not all work and no play; there are numerous customs and traditions involved in the Tiger Meet that make it very interesting. Each year, pilots add exciting decals to their fighters, making it look unique.

For the Czech Gripen, this year’s motif was a little different. Usually, it’s an image or a sketch of a tiger.  For example, last year, Czech Gripen was the canvas for the stylish “Wildcat”, which was a partially covered face of model Simona Krainová and a tiger. Similarly, in 2013, one of the participating Gripen had a motif called "Picasso Tiger".

Besides Czech Air Force, the Hungarian Air Force has also sent its Gripen fighters to the exercise.

NATO Tiger Meet will be held till 25 May.

You can take a look at how Czech Gripen fighters have been given a different makeover at various NATO Tiger Meets here.

Read the full story here.​

Image Courtesy: WeAreNATO

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