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Category: TECHNOLOGY

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During the cold war, Sweden felt threatened by the Warsaw Pact countries. The country needed an aircraft that could outperform and outmanoeuvre a larger force of advanced fighters.

The north of Sweden is an unforgiving land with long, freezing winters and largely unpopulated areas. It presents a harsh environment to operate an aircraft – yet it was this place that gave birth to Gripen.

Defending these vast areas required a fighter that could perform air-to-air, air-to-surface and reconnaissance missions in a single sortie, without the need to return to base for reconfiguration.

Gripen was also designed to use roads as temporary runways, allowing the Air Force to use logistical flexibility and speed to keep an invading force at bay. Easy maintenance and reconfiguration was also vital, as it would need to be performed by Swedish conscripts with only 10 weeks’ training – usually outdoors in freezing, isolated conditions.

Read the full story here​.

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​Major General Mats Helgesson talks about the meteor missile integration to the Swedish Air Force Gripen and why it is an important capability. ​​

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Next week, Saab will participate at the Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA), the largest show of its kind within the Asia Pacific region.

Saab will be present with chalets at both the Aerospace and Maritime sites at the event, where visitors can learn about its key products and solutions.

LIMA 2017 will be held between 21 and 25 March. An RTAF Gripen has been scheduled to perform aerial displays on the first four days of the event. 

Besides Gripen, Saab products on display include GlobalEye, Swordfish MPA, A26 Submarine, Sea Wasp and 9LV CS. 

To know more about Saab's participation at the event and to know Gripen display schedule, visit here​.

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Last week, Czech and German fighters executed a joint training in the airspace of the Federal Republic of Germany. Two Czech Gripen fighters carried out aerial fights with two German Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

The agreement to conduct the joint training regime was signed on 15 February in Brussels by the Czech and German Defence Ministers, Martin Stropnicky and Ursula von der Leyen. "The document confirms our resolution to create more intensive joint training scenarios and, at the same time, share our knowledge and experiences. Germany is one of our key strategic partners both inside and outside the NATO region," said Martin Stropnicky.

The exercise was carried out to increase mutual cooperation and improve inter-operability between the armed forces of the two countries. 

The one-and-half-hour training consisted of three combat scenarios. The flights were carried out within the format of aerial combat manoeuvring 2 on 1, 1 on 1, and 2 on 2 combats. The joint training is being conducted once in every two weeks.

​​ What is most important for a fighter pilot? To have more information than the opponent, says Mats Thorbiornson. And that is what makes Gripen unique. 

A former aircraft technician with the Swedish Air Force, Mats Thorbiornson is now a Gripen test pilot. With experience in flying Saab’s Viggen, and around 40 to 50 different kinds of aircraft from the U.S., Russia and France, Mats has tested his mettle when it comes to flying and maintaining fighter aircraft. He was one of the Gripen pilots present at Aero India 2017. 

So how did an aircraft technician become a pilot? On being asked, Mats said that during his tenure in the Swedish Air Force as a technician, he had the opportunity to write the pilot test and he performed well in it. The rest, as they say, is history.

For a man who has been flying Gripen for so long, he says that his favourite part of the Gripen fighter is its versatility as an aircraft. Gripen’s ability to perform air-to-air, and surface-to-air missions makes it a viable multi-role fighter. With just the push of a few buttons, one can switch missions on-board the aircraft.

The ease of flying Gripen is best demonstrated when one gets to manoeuvre the aircraft. As Mats says in another interview withDeccan Herald​, “One feels very safe when doing manoeuvres in a Gripen. You feel absolutely secure when you are flying in low altitude, negotiating a bad weather or while involved in a dangerous mission because ...

​Gripen for India is about partnerships, air power and cooperation, says Mats Palmberg, Vice President, Industrial Partnerships, Saab.

So, what’s the big difference between flying fighter jets a couple of decades back and today? When asked this question, Gripen test pilot Anders Håkansson had this to say:

“There were no computers when I began my career in the Swedish Air Force and we didn’t have the luxury of trying and testing on the simulators as we have today. I began my career by flying the Saab 37 Viggen, a mighty aircraft, before I started handling the Gripen.”

“Over the last two decades, technology has changed everything in the world of fighter planes. From taking-off to coordinating with the ground forces, technological advancements have transformed the way pilots fly today. Anders, who has trained many Gripen pilots, says that the younger generation knows computers and hence can adapt to technology in a better way. There is no need to teach them step by step. They just need to be taught how to handle the system and do the tactics since they are fast learners,” he adds.

Anders is a veteran of the Swedish Air Force for almost 30 years and was one of the Gripen test pilots who participated in Aero India 2017. He has the experience of flying Gripen for 17 years and has an acute understanding of the capabilities and specifications of the aircraft.

From A/B to C/D and E/F, Gripen has come a long way over the last few decades. According to Jonas Jakobsson, another Gripen test pilot, the fighter has undergone several design changes ...

“Are you ready, Jugal?” 

These were the four words that marked the most awaited moment of his life for India Today’s Senior Special Correspondent Jugal R Purohit who got an opportunity to fly Gripen at Aero India 2017.

Jugal flew Gripen alongside Captain Fredrik Barske of the Swedish Air Force, who briefed him about the fighter’s various capabilities: air-to-air attack, air-to-ground attack, reconnaissance, jamming enemy aircraft and networking with friendly fighters to lead a coordinated attack. 

Jugal underwent a series of medical tests including blood profile, urine profile and electrocardiogram (ECG). He also received a backseat briefing to understand the usage of things like ejection seats and get a hang of communication during the flight. Within a few minutes, they pulled up to 20,000 ft, flying at the speed of sound.​

"From looping to barrel roll to split to vertical climb up to 20,000 ft from low level, each of these manoeuvres we underwent made me realise the essence of training," he says.

At the end of the flight, Jugal became the 1,807th member of the Gripen club which consists of a few royals, mostly uniformed personnel and a handful of enthusiasts.

Read the full story here.

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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 storyhere

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Defence and Security Company Saab offers to set up the world's most modern ecosystem and facility in India, to manufacture Gripen E for India and the global market. From this unique industrial base India will accelerate its ability to design, develop, manufacture, modify and enhance new fighters for the future.

The state-of-the-art facilities for India would include a dedicated Gripen Design Centre, a major production facility equipped with the latest manufacturing technologies and robotics systems, a radar and sensor centre, final assembly plus test and verification centres. The facilities to be set up would also deliver depot-level maintenance, repair and overhaul and design services. This fighter technology ecosystem would support the full spectrum of production capabilities for India, including parts manufacturing and sub-assembly.

"Saab is offering an industrial facility that will be the centre-of-gravity for the Made-in-India Gripen. It is an unrivalled offer that will set new standards in aeronautical engineering excellence for decades to come, should India procure Gripen," says Saab India Chairman Jan Widerström.

In close cooperation with Saab, engineers and technicians from Indian partner and supplier companies will live and work in Sweden and at global partners' sites, they will be trained at today's production facilities, to gain the knowledge and experience needed for transfer to Indian-made Gripens once India's own facilities are operational.

Read the full storyhere​.​


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Welcome to the official Gripen blog by Saab. This site features information and commentary about the Gripen fighter jet.