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Saab test pilot Marcus Wandt explains how he prepared for Gripen E's first flight.​

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At 10:32 on 15 June 2017, Gripen E took off on its maiden flight, flown by a Saab test pilot. The aircraft (designation 39-8) left from Saab’s airfield in Linköping, Sweden and flew over the eastern parts of Östergötland for 40 minutes. During the flight, the aircraft carried out a number of actions to demonstrate various test criteria including the retracting and extending of the landing gear.

“The flight was just as expected, with the aircraft performance matching the experience in our simulations. Its acceleration performance is impressive with smooth handling. Needless to say, I’m very happy to have piloted this maiden flight,” says Marcus Wandt, Experimental Test Pilot, Saab.

Read more here.

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The transfer of technology through cooperation with Saab is extremely significant for increasing the technological competence of Brazilian industry," says Jackson Schneider, President and CEO of Embraer Defence and Security.

"Embraer and the other companies committed to this programme will benefit from the transfer of knowledge," he says. "It will make it possible for them to carry out future upgrades to the Gripen fleet and to compete in the market for coming generations of fighters."

Embraer has always been an important partner of Saab in Brazil’s Gripen programme. The opening of GDDN was a key milestone in the Gripen technology transfer programme. The GDDN is located at Embraer premises in Gavião Peixoto in the state of São Paulo. According to Schneider, GDDN can be described as a project work station with professionals mainly from Embraer and Saab, but also from other Brazilian industry partners and the Brazilian customer.

"We can use the Gripen Design and Development Network for future joint projects, such as an export version of the two-seater Gripen. We are also discussing potential additional cooperation outside the Gripen programme."

Schneider considers the project a first-class opportunity for both Embraer and Saab to exchange knowledge."Both companies are very experienced in the aeronautical market and this is a great opportunity to improve our expertise in the development and manufacturing process of a high -standard modern combat aircraft," he says.​

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A full- scale replica of Gripen E adorns the entrance of the Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN) in Gavião Peixoto, in the state of São Paulo. Inside, Brazilian and Swedish engineers work together on various 'work projects' under the Gripen NG development programme.

"The idea is that the Brazilian version of Gripen will eventually be manufactured here," says Jonas Petzén, Site and Development Manager at GDDN. “Meanwhile Saab and Embraer will together oversee the development of a two-seater version of Gripen."

The work has already begun on various 'work packages'. These cover the design of the cockpit, including new displays, rigs and simulators, pneumatic systems and ejection systems, overall design and avionics - all of which form the basic infrastructure for other work packages.

"The working climate is extremely creative and is a clear example of a situation where one plus one makes more than two," Petzén says.

According to Petzén, over the next few years, the focus of Saab's cooperation with Embraer and other partners in Brazil will be on development. "The simulator for the air force pilots will come online in 2017, and a manufacturing facility will gradually be built," he says.

One of the Swedish engineers, Johan Beckman who has moved to Brazil to work at GDDN, says things have got off to a great start. “It’s going really well and this is mainly due to the fact that our Brazilian colleagues spent a year in Linkoping. They know how Saab ...

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The revolutionary thinking behind the Gripen programme has once more ensured Saab’s delivery of one of the world’s most advanced fighters. Gripen E is a fighter not only fit for purpose today but ready and adaptable for events beyond tomorrow’s horizon.

Gripen, an advanced fighter system

The world renown Gripen project was initially created as a result of a synergy between university, industry and government. Known as the ‘triple helix’ this model has long been employed by Saab to ensure highly sophisticated technological advancement.

Eva Söderström, Head of Industrial Cooperation, explains, "This has existed for many years in Sweden, although at the time it was not known as the ‘Triple Helix’ – it was a model we used: academia, industry and a governmental body. We did this to develop the Gripen program and we did it because it worked."  Söderström makes a simple point that can sometimes get lost when talking of management models "It worked." The Triple Helix is certainly far from a conceptual idea at Saab but rather it is a working method.

Read the full story here.

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Gripen is created to give you maximum air time, minimum down time. It can be re-armed in approximately 10 minutes, meaning Gripen is always prepared to fulfil any mission.

Photo: Daniel Nilsson

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If you are planning to visit the UK, Belgium, or France in the next few months, you just might catch some stunning Gripen solo displays!

The annual Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton International Air Day in Somerset will be held on 8 July. Czech Air Force will send one Gripen fighter and two L-159 ALCA aircraft for flying display at the event.

Then, there is the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) UK, which will be held between 14 and 16 July at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. Gripen fighters from Sweden, Hungary and the Czech Republic will be performing aerial displays at the event. Besides Gripen, more than 250 trainers, fighters, and transport aircraft have been confirmed for participation.

On 19 and 20th August, one can catch a Czech Air Force Gripen in action at the Festival of Flight, Biggin Hill airshow in the UK. This is followed by the International Sanicole Air Show in Belgium which boasts of a range of demonstrations of fighters, vintage aircraft, helicopters and parachutists. The airshow will be held on 10 September. A Swedish and a Hungarian Gripen fighter will be participating.

Besides Sanicole Air Show, a Gripen performance is also assured at the Fetes de l´Air Lens airshow in France on 9 and 10 September.

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A week after Gripen E's successful maiden flight, it was time for the second flight on 22 June. Test pilot Robin Nordlander piloted this 68 minutes flight in which several tests like take-off with afterburner and aileron rolls, were conducted. The test programme is going as planned and more flights will follow.

Photo: Stefan Kalm

Saab test pilot Marcus Wandt explains how he prepared for Gripen E's first flight.

Gripen_E_First_Flight-6394_edited.jpg
At 10:32 am today, Gripen E took off on its maiden flight, flown by a Saab test pilot. The aircraft (designation 39-8) left from Saab’s airfield in Linköping, Sweden and flew over the eastern parts of Östergötland for 40 minutes. During the flight, the aircraft carried out a number of actions to demonstrate various test criteria including the retracting and extending of the landing gear.

“The flight was just as expected, with the aircraft performance matching the experience in our simulations. Its acceleration performance is impressive with smooth handling. Needless to say I’m very happy to have piloted this maiden flight,” says Marcus Wandt, Experimental Test Pilot, Saab.

Read more here.

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