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Čáslav in the Czech Republic will host tri-annual exercise Lion Effort, starring the Gripen C/D in all roles, in 2015. Several Gripen operators will participate in the exercise.

Lion Effort presents a great opportunity for various Gripen operators to not just train together but to also share best practices and operational know-how with each other.

The first Lion Effort exercise was held in 2009 in Hungary, while the second was held in Sweden in 2012. In 2012, four of the five Gripen operating nations participated in the exercise. Royal Thai Air Force Gripen were not present but observers from the Air Force attended the exercise.

Lion Effort consists of various planned and unplanned missions followed by brainstorming sessions during which participants raise questions and suggest ways of refining the plan. The exercise provides a platform for testing the operational deployment ability of the Gripen and training of air and ground crews in multinational operations.​

Image Coutesy: Peter Liander​

Recently, Saab received three development and maintenance orders from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV).

Saab has received an order to provide maintenance of technical system support and spare parts for Gripen during 2015 on behalf of the Swedish armed forces. The contract value is approx. SEK 385 million.

The order confirms previous option of services to be provided during 2015 and includes technical system support for the Swedish armed forces and FMV in the form of operational and technical support, equipment follow-up, proposed modifications, environmental technology plus warehouse operations for replacement units.

The second order received by Saab is to provide maintenance, operational support and continuing development work for Gripen during 2015. The order is valued at SEK 355 million. It includes the operation of rigs, simulators and test aircraft for the verification and validation of the Gripen C/D and Gripen E fighter aircraft systems, plus operational support for Gripen C/D.

Saab has also received a development order for Gripen E from the FMV.  This order is part of the Gripen E framework agreement from 2013 and is valued at SEK 385 million.

Besides these three orders,Saab and the Brazilian Ministry of Defence, through the Air Force Aeronautics Command (COMAER), have signed a contract for Gripen NG contractor logistics support (CLS). The total order value is SEK 548 million. The order is expected to be booked by Saab in 2021.​

Read the full story here.

Hungarian Air Force Gripen recently practiced familiarization flights in Estonia and getting ready to participate in a future NATO mission, which is to protect the airspace over the Baltic countries.

Hungarian ambassador to Helsinki and designated ambassador to Estonia Kristóf Forrai, attended the visit of the two Hungarian Gripen fighters on 10 December.

According to a press release, Ambassador Forrai expressed the firm commitment of Hungary to take part in the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission. He stressed that Hungary considers the security and peace of Estonia and the entire Baltic region extremely important.

Ambassador Forrai met the Chief of Staff of Estonian Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Riivo Valge and the Commander of Ämari Air Base Lieutenant Colonel Rauno Sirk.

“Estonia is glad that the South European part of NATO is participating in the NATO mission in Northern Europe. We appreciate that the Hungarians are aware of the threats in the recently changed security situation in Europe and that they care for our problems,” Lieutenant Colonel Riivo Valge said.

The Hungarian Air Force team participating in this mission consists of four Gripen and 90 personnel.  The Hungarian Air Force Gripen will patrol the Baltic sky for four months in 2015 and will be stationed at Zokniai Air Base, Lithuania.

Read the full story: Visit of Hungarian Gripen fighters in Estonia​

​It is a Swedish Air Force Flight School tradition to send a Christmas greeting from above, by flying in a Christmas tree formation. 

Normally twelve SK 60 training aircraft take to the skies and make a formation that looks like a Christmas tree. This year, for the first time, the SK 60s will have company as two Gripen fighters may join, reports Corren.

christmas1.jpg12.jpgThe formation will fly at a speed of 375 km/h, at an altitude of about 400 meters, with five meters between each plane. Flight instructors will fly the aircraft with students as passengers. 

According to the report, the only threat to the planned flight can be the weather.

“If the cloud base gets too low, we will have to cancel,” says Michael Rosenquist, deputy manager of Flight School at Malmen.

Read the full story: Gripen dekorerar granen

Photo Courtesy: Jan Basilius/Försvarsmakten (The images and video are of the previous year and hence do not include Gripen)

​Gripen pilots from Swedish Air Force Wing F21 practiced with laser guided bombs in an exercise last week, reports Forsvarsmakten.

According to the report, the annual defense budget increase has given the Armed Forces possibility to increase the amount of flight hours, strengthen the incident standby capacity and to practice more.

Fighter Squadron at F21 has therefore been able to drop laser guided bombs over Vidsel firing range- there were two ship formations of Gripen who dropped one bomb each.

“With advanced systems, we need to practice a lot. So this extra training session is particularly welcome,” says division manager Tobhias Wikström.

Read the full story: Precision i målet

Defence and security company Saab has received an order from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) for the extended lease of Gripen from Sweden to the Czech Republic. This agreement provides for the continuing support and upgrade of the Czech aircraft for a further 12 years. The order is valued at approx. SEK 576 million.

Gripen has been in service with the Czech Republic since 2005. In May 2014 a new agreement between Sweden and the Czech Republic extended this partnership for a further 12 years. As a result, the Czech Republic will continue to operate 14 Gripen C/D aircraft until at least 2027. Under the terms of this government-to-government agreement Saab acts as a supplier to FMV, which in turn provides the aircraft to the Czech Republic.

“The Czech Republic’s decision is further evidence of Gripen's high capability and great cost-efficiency. It proves again how well the aircraft stands up in global competition. As we develop the next generation of Gripen for Sweden and Brazil, we continue to see great international interest in Gripen C/D”, says Lennart Sindahl, Deputy CEO and Head of Saab’s business area Aeronautics.

Read the full story here​.

​After announcing the selection of Gripen NG on 18 December 2013, the Brazilian Air Force also began evaluating its fighter pilots to identify which of them would make the best instructors. The selection process settled on captains Ramon Lincoln Santos Fórneas and Gustavo de Oliveira Pascotto.

The two FAB pilots are currently participating in a six month training in Sweden where they will learn everything there is to know about Gripen. At the end of April, they will return to Brazil where they will pass on this knowledge to their colleagues as newly qualified Gripen instructors.

"We are prepared for hard work since there is so much we not only have to learn but also take on board fully so that we can pass it on to others. The course seems very thorough and everything has been well planned so I am sure everything will be fine," says Gustavo.

On 19 November it was time for the first training sortie in the rear seat of a Gripen D. The 50-minute exercise was an experience, even for two seasoned pilots. "We flew in formation and performed several advanced manoeuvres, which was an amazing experience," says Ramon.

​​Read the full story here​.

This year, together with the Czech Air Force detachment of five Gripen fighter aircraft and about 70 personnel, Lieutenant Jan Veselý moved to Keflavik Airbase, Iceland to ensure NATO’s Iceland Air Surveillance mission. It was his first mission as a fighter controller outside his home country.

According to Lieutenant Veselý, in some ways, the tasks that he performed during this mission were similar to the ones he performs back home at Čáslav. However, during this mission, he worked in close coordination with his colleagues from the Iceland Coast Guard in the Iceland CRC – call sign LOKI – which provides overall air surveillance.

"In general, I expected more action here; it is a bit calmer than in the Czech Republic,” he says hinting at the two training scrambles the Czech Gripen conducted every day. 

Lieutenant Veselý was the most impressed with the aspect of interoperability saying that the daily work at CRC LOKI was very helpful for him and his colleagues. 

"It is not only that we all have to speak English. There are also different mentalities here. And last, but not least, I did not know the controlling standards they use here at Iceland,” he says.

"What I will take home is that I can use the standards I was trained to in the Czech Republic in any future mission in any NATO country,” he adds.

Read the full story: Czech Fighter Controller augments Iceland Air Traffic Control for NATO Mission​

Image Courtesy: Christian Timmig ​

F 7 Såtenäs, Skaraborgs Flygflottilj, the Swedish Air Wing which was established in 1940, will celebrate its 75 years in 2015, reports Airshowinfo.

The Såtenäs estate was chosen for its good location and close proximity to suitable target ranges. According to the report, F7 stepped into the jet age in 1957, with the Saab 29 Tunnan, and from 1973 to 1993, AJ 37 Viggen served the Air Force.

In 1993, one squadron at F7 was converted to the Gripen A/B and by 1997, the other squadrons followed suit. The Wing received its first C/D version of the Gripen in 2010 and the complete conversion happened by 2012. Now, the Wing is the main hub of the Gripen trainings. All pilots who fly Gripen aircraft are trained at F 7.

The F7 has 4 squadrons at the moment. Three fighter squadrons, equipped with Gripen C/D jets are called the 71 Fightng Squadron (Gustav Red), the 72 Fighting Squadron (Gustav Blue) and the 73 Fighting Squadron (Gustav Yellow). 

Read the full story:  F7 Airbase at Såtenäs, Sweden will celebrate it's 75 years in 2015

​Amidst beautiful sea shores and the icy, rocky terrain of Iceland, Czech Air Force Gripen pilots completed their three month long mission.

Five Gripen fighter aircraft along with 80 air and ground personnel from the Czech Air Force were deployed to monitor the airspace of Iceland till 3 December.

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