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When Captain Gustavo de Oliveira Pascotto flew Gripen for the first time in 2015, he was very impressed with the way Gripen managed pilot work load. "What I liked the most was the highly advanced human-machine interface," he said.

Pascotto was one of the first few Brazilian pilots who left Anápolis for F7 in Såtenäs to learn all about the future fighter of their Air Force and pass on this knowledge to their colleagues and newly qualified Gripen instructors.

Fast forward to today, and more than 140 professionals have been trained in Sweden till date. They have already returned to Brazil, and most of them are working at the Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN).

Today, there is an excitement amongst everyone at the Brazilian Air Force about the arrival of new fighters with people eagerly waiting for Gripen to become operational in Brazil.

“There is a desire and a thrill that has not been seen for a long time. Today we have a group dedicated to studying this aircraft, which asks us a lot of questions. The pilots know they will have the opportunity to operate a modern machine that will enable them to complete their missions successfully. FAB is restructuring and training the squadron to operate Gripen,” says Lieutenant Colonel Renato Leal Leite.

Those who have flown it never forget it. “Flying Gripen was challenging, rewarding and an operational crowning experience,” says Major Gustavo Pascotto.

Teams are working diligently ...

​For someone like Julia who always wanted to build something, a career as an assembly operator at Saab has been a great learning experience. 

Drilling machines in different shapes and sizes is the most common tool used at the stations. Julia has always been careful and precise. And these qualities come in handy while using these machines while building the central fuselage, the biggest part of Gripen E. 

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The pace at which technology has changed over the last few decades, and continues to do so, has been impressive to say the least. The computers, processors, and electronics of tomorrow are going to be even better and faster. This means any product - no matter how advanced it is - being developed today will have some or a lot of catching up to do every now and then.

For new age fighters, upgradability will be the key. It is for this very reason that Gripen E has been developed with future progress in mind. “The future pilot will need the ability to continuously upgrade the hardware and software and not get stuck in old functionality; this is of increasing importance,” says Saab’s Wing Commander Flying and Gripen test pilot Hans Einerth.

So, how does Saab build a system that is ready for tomorrow, a fighter that will have an edge in an uncertain future?

The answer is 'Split Avionics'. Separating flight critical and mission critical means a less complicated system that allows for easy modifications. Here is how it works at so many levels. 

Gripen avionics system separates 10% of core flight critical management codebase from 90% of tactical management code. This results in avionics that are hardware agnostic, leaving the tactical management to be integrated with new features without the need to re-certify the flight critical software.

Saab’s Avionic Management System (AMS) for Gripen is the first truly open architecture avionics platform. Conscious decoupling ...

Developed to counter and defeat advanced future threats, the Gripen E-series is for customers with more pronounced threats or wider territories to secure. Gripen’s intelligent fighter systems rapidly embrace new tactics, upgrades and situations and give the pilot ample time to make the decisive move.

Gripen E/F is designed to deal with more pronounced threats and wider surveillance areas. This is made possible thanks to the aircraft’s more powerful engine, improved ranged capabilities, and higher payload capability. Some other standout features of Gripen E/F are the highly functional AESA radar, InfraRed Searching and Tracking systems, highly efficient communication systems, high situational awareness, and of course, a state of the art Electronic Warfare System.

Deal With Threats on the Go

Modern battlefields are riddled with unannounced threats – coming from any direction at any time. In cluttered air-spaces, pilots need to be aware and highly reactive, and fighter planes need to be equipped with Integrated Air Defence Systems. The Gripen E/F is not only capable of these requirements, but can deploy active and passive measures to disrupt the enemy’s tactics and functionality. These measures can distract the opponent, make it incapable of sticking to its plan, and annihilate it as well. Gripen E/F is compatible with recent developments of artilleries and missiles. 

Sense the Invisible – Remain Undetected

With radar systems as powerful as the one on Gripen E/F, detection of threats is made several notches easier. The Gripen collects a wealth of ...

Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN), the hub for the Gripen NG technology development in Brazil, is a proof of true technology transfer. 

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With every passing year, the signal environment for Electronic Warfare (EW) systems is becoming more and more complex. There are more signals out there, both military and civilian. Hence it becomes imperative to have a smart EW systems which can quickly differentiate a threat signal from other signals.

All around us, there is an Electromagnetic (EM) spectrum which covers all energy radiated by means of electromagnetic waves including radio communication and radar transmission. According to Inga Bergstrom, Sales Director of Gripen EW, Electronic Warfare is the combat for control of the EM spectrum.

“EW may not be the primary function of a fighter, but it is an enabler to conduct a successful mission,” Inga says.

Some of the tactics used by pilots of fighter aircraft to avoid detection include silent flight by reducing emissions, or by flying at low heights. Even then, detection by enemy devices is a possibility, and in the event that Gripen E’s location has been compromised, EW system provides countermeasure techniques, such as Dispensing – in which decoys are released into the air, creating a false target to fool the enemy.

Elaborating on the features of Gripen’s EW system, Inga says that it is all about listening, detecting, identifying, and if you are detected first, about deterring, defending and defeating. 

EW has been an important part of Gripen from the beginning. Today, Saab has a small, compact system that does a number of things while also reducing drag and increasing ...

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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 ...

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

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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.

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