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Čáslav pilots have successfully completed their mission in Iceland, flying over volcanoes, glaciers and waters of the Atlantic Ocean. They also have chalked up more than a hundred takeoffs from the Keflavík Air Base. Martin Nezbeda, Commanding Officer of the Czech mission, in an interview with, talks about his experience and how flying was different in Iceland because of the terrain and climatic conditions of the country.   

Iceland is a beautiful country, but we have been running flat out, which means we do not leave the base very often and there is hardly a chance to enjoy the charm of the island. Perhaps a glimpse from the cockpit every now and then. After all, this is not a package tour – the price for even the smallest distraction or inattention may be high, he says.                                                                        Meteorologists mention downright extreme flying conditions in Iceland. What would you say?

Martin Nezbeda: It may look more dramatic on camera shots or photographs than it actually is. However, the fact is that Iceland is a country with active volcanoes and many thermal geysers or lava flows. At the same time, there are large glaciers as well. A fairly different environment from what we have in Central Europe. Of course, our training ...

Today is the last day for the Czech Air Force detachment’s Iceland air surveillance mission this year. The team would fly home to Čáslav tomorrow.

According to Captain Jiri Cermak from the Czech Air Force Detachment at Iceland, during this mission, they had a new experience of refueling with the longest ferry flight in the Czech Air Force history.

As Iceland does not have its own national air force, NATO members deploy fighters to meet the country’s air defence needs on a rotational basis, three times a year.

Saab has launched the Linux Kernel Hack Challenge in which participants can hack their way into winning a flight in the Gripen simulator.

The participants are invited to provide a Linux kernel modification that gives a more accurate worst-case execution time measurement taking into account cache effects.

“My understanding is that Saab is an attractive company among new graduates. We have got a history of innovation and problem solving, not to mention a great diversity in products and services that are really cutting edge, at the forefront of technology. The Gripen NG system is a great case in point. At the same time, we are competing in a competitive job market, which can make it difficult to attract people with the qualifications and educational background needed. However, with competitions like this, hopefully we can connect with tomorrow’s talent,” says Anders Isaksson, one of the brains behind the contest.

The competition is open for EU-residents. The first prize -a flight in the Gripen simulator - includes travel to Linköping and hotel accommodation.

Read more about the competition here​.

I​nitially developed for operation in Scandinavia, Gripen is built to handle extreme weather conditions in any climate. Gripen can also operate from small bases with short runways such as road strips, and has an outstanding ability to deploy swiftly with a minimum of resources.

Photo: Per Kustvik

For downloading this image, please visit: Gripen Calendar 2014​

​Aviation blog interviewed Csaba Ugrik, Hungarian Air Base Commander, who talked in detail about the activities at the air base this year. The Commander outlined the Gripen team’s success at the Tiger Meet and the JAWTEX and the importance of the participation in the air policing of Slovenia. ​


Csaba Ugrik, Hungarian Air Base Commander

“This year's tasks included the Slovenian airspace protection mission. The earlier co-operation agreement was extended in January and was signed here at the air base. The idea behind the extension was to avoid the requirement of prior authorization for an armed military aircraft to enter the Slovenian airspace,” the Hungarian Commander said.

Commander Ugrik also informed the reporter about the reactivation of the Dongo squadron due to the arrival of young team members.

“This year was not easy, but the next will be even more hectic. The activities in 2015 include the air surveillance mission of the Baltics,” he said.

Read the full story: Évről évre, feladatról feladatra

​HQ Aircom recently published some more pictures of the Czech detachment and their hosts of the Icelandic Coast Guard at the Keflavik International Airport/Coast Guard Operations Centre.

The five Czech Air Force Gripen fighters have been deployed to provide Airborne Surveillance and interception capabilities to meet Iceland's Peacetime Preparedness Needs.

Photo Courtesy: Christian Timmig​

Czech Air Force Gripen pilots have a week to go before ending their mission in Iceland and flying home to Čáslav.  In the meantime, they make the most of their time and airspace. They explore the icy, rocky wilderness of Iceland through their GoPro.

We can see a Czech Gripen pilot taking the camera, moving slowly in the barren landscape of the Keflavik airbase before taking off. The Czech pilot takes pictures of his wingman in another Gripen, equipped with live AIM-9 air-to-air missiles and long range fuel tanks. The pilot then takes pictures of the tough yet scenic volcanic landscapes of Iceland before returning to the aircraft shelter.

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

The five Czech Air Force Gripen are supported by an Italian Air Force KC-767 tanker in this mission.

Image and video courtesy: Airheads Fly

South African Gripen participated in IBSAMAR IV exercises which were designed to create a framework for an integrated Naval Force based on cooperation between the Indian Navy, Brazilian Navy and South African Navy.

According to a South African Navy Official website report, IBSAMAR IV was divided into various stages. The 2nd Sea phase, scheduled between 03 November 2014 and 06 November 2014, was directed by Exercise Control Centre in Silvermine as the phase was dubbed “free play” week.

In this phase, the scenarios were aimed to train the forces deployed at the sea for unplanned attacks. They were also designed to simulate real time war situations based on the idea that during war, 80 per cent of the time is spent waiting.

South African Air Force Gripen acted as a bomber attack aircraft which had to be detected by the radar operators on board SAS SPIOENKOP from 120 miles away. The Super Lynx Helicopter was deployed from SAS SPIOENKOP to search for SAS ‘MANTHATISI, the attacker/enemy submarine.

The 2nd Sea phase concluded with boarding of SAS UMHLOTI by members of Maritime Reaction Squadron (MRS) and Special Force team at Saldanha North Basin during the anti-piracy exercise. This exercise involved a challenging situation where the MRS team had to test its skills against the Special Force team.

Read the full story: The end of a successfully executed EX IBSAMAR IV

Image Courtesy: South African Navy Official website

fab_pilots_gripen.jpgCaptain Gustavo de Oliveira Pascotto with his Swedish instructor​
Captain Ramon Santos Fórneas with his Swedish instructor​

Captain Gustavo de Oliveira Pascotto and Captain Ramon Santos Fórneas became the first Brazilian Air Force pilots to complete a training mission on a Gripen aircraft last week, reports Brazilian government website.

The two Brazilian Captains, accompanied by Swedish Air Force pilots, flew a Gripen D aircraft for 50 minutes in Sweden and near the Baltic Sea. 

Noting the aerodynamic advantage provided by the canards as one of the best features of Gripen, Captain Fórneas praised Gripen for being an obedient aircraft. 

"It was better than I expected," he said.

Unlike the other Brazilian pilots who have flown the Gripen aircraft before, these two pilots will have the responsibility for the aircraft and are training to master the Gripen system.

The two pilots went for another training session in a Gripen simulator after this mission.

Read the full story: Pilotos da FAB voam pela primeira vez em caça Gripen

Image Courtesy: Brazilian Air Force

CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) aircrew protection is now introduced in Gripen. The development at Saab has been successfully completed thanks to the close cooperation between Saab, FMV (Sw MoD), FOI (Sw National Defence Research Agency) and the Swedish Airforce. This video shows some sequences from verification of the CBRN protection system and test flights.​

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