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Category: TECHNOLOGY

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One of the major deciding factors behind Brazil's selection of Gripen was Saab's technology transfer offer, says Vianney Goncalves Jr in an opinion piece in Aviation Week.

Even more decisive than the winning aircraft's lowest operational cost was its level of technology transfer. A major criterion for Brazilian engineers was the Swedish proposal for participation in the development of the two-seater version, he says. In addition to the transfer of know-how, Brazil also took the opportunity to reorganize its force structure.

The opinion piece dwells on the importance of the development of Gripen F and its potential role as a special sensor node for network centric warfare. Goncalves also discusses the wide-area display and the Link-BR2 datalink system developed in Brazil.

Read his opinion piece here.


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The Czech Air Force Gripen fighters now have air-to-ground capabilities, reports Ceskatelevize.cz.

With the new capabilities, the Czech Gripen will be able to do more than air defence missions. They will be able to perform air-to-ground strikes and engage with ground troops as well. The new weapons will not only increase the capabilities of the Czech Air Force but also prepare Gripen fighters for advanced NATO missions.

As a part of this upgrade, Czech fighters have been integrated with laser bombs and related software updates. According to the Ceskatelevize report, laser beams are very accurate and attacks can be made between five and twenty miles of height. 

"We will have to learn how to use the full range of ammunition that will be provided for Gripen," said Czech Tactical Air Force Commander Jan Ďucha.

Read the full post here.

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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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“Model Based Development for Gripen E will allow tactical functions to be uploaded into the system in a span of days instead of years,” Combitech's CEO Lars Ydreskog said at an event in Linköping earlier this year.

The concept is similar to a smartphone structure wherein, just like apps, subsystems can be easily added or removed. Gripen E's avionics system has separate flight critical functions and tactical features which means the operator can add a new capability or feature without interfering with any flight critical functions.

With model based development, the number of system failures can be reduced by 90 percent and the errors can be rectified in days and not months. Another advantage of this system is that the verifications can be done in simulators which reduce the need for extensive test flights.

“It hereby ends the discussion if model-based development works or not,” Ydreskog said.

Read the full story here.

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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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In an interview with Defesaaereanaval.com, Bengt Janér, Director of the Gripen Brazil project at Saab, talks about the latest update on the Gripen programme, technology transfer and the role of Brazilian companies in the fighter development.

About the technology transfer process, Bengt says that it started in October 2015. About 150 Brazilian engineers are currently participating in the training program at the Gripen plant in Sweden. In total, there will be over 60 projects under the technology transfer programme, lasting up to 24 months.

Bengt adds that Brazilian company Akaer plays a very important role in the fighter’s development. Akaer’s involvement in the Gripen programme started in 2009. During the first phase, it did a preliminary study of the rear fuselage and parts of central fuselage, wings and main landing gear door. Starting 2012, Akaer was responsible for the complete development of the rear fuselage. After 2014, the company started working on optimisation and detailing of the gun unit and central fuselage of the fighter.

Brazilian engineers who were in Sweden for training, are now working at the Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN) in Gavião Peixoto, in the state of São Paulo, and at AEL and Akaer, companies that Saab has industrial cooperation agreement with.

On being asked about the status of the development process of various Gripen versions, Bengt added that Gripen E’s first test flight would take place in the second quarter of 2017 as planned and Saab is looking forward ...

Several of Saab’s larger deals include long-term industrial cooperations with customer countries. The goal is to create good value for both parties.

Many countries around the world have formal requirements and regulations in place which relate to industrial cooperation. 

“Even countries that don’t have such formal requirements often want Saab to contribute to their industrial development,” says Anders Edlund, Director at Saab Industrial Cooperation. “In some cases, it involves increasing exports, in others, it is purely a matter of security – they want to be able to maintain and upgrade the system they have purchased from us.” 

The most recent major business deal is Brazil’s purchase of 36 Gripen aircraft. The contract stipulates a number of requirements for industrial cooperation, including the training of Brazilian engineers and workshop personnel. By the end of 2024, more than 350 individuals from the Brazilian Air Force and Saab’s business partners will have taken part in training courses in Linköping, Sweden. 

The contract also includes a new hub for technology development and flight tests, which was inaugurated at the end of 2016. A local production facility will be built, and the assembly process at the site is set to begin in the early 2020s. In addition, various research projects are being conducted jointly with the Brazilian Air Force. 

Analysis before agreement

When making such an extensive commitment, Saab undertakes a comprehensive analysis of the country concerned before considering entering into an agreement.

“You have to understand ...

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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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Gripen E's first test flight will be conducted during the second quarter of this year," says Jerker Ahlqvist, head of Gripen programme.

During the annual Gripen seminar earlier this year, Jerker explained that Saab’s new work methods with model-based-design is proving to be very successful. 

“As we prepare for Gripen E’s first test flight, we see that any software corrections can be easily implemented now. We can quickly make a change and introduce a new software load to the aircraft within days. This is something that previously took weeks or even months to undergo. It gives us the confidence that we are on the right track and the programme will run as per the schedule,” he said.

Saab is building two more test aircraft which are at various stages of production. Aircraft 39-8 is currently in ground test. The second test aircraft has entered the stage of final assembly.

About Gripen M, Jerker said that it is at a conceptual stage. “We are working with Brazilian engineers on a concept study of Gripen M. We are also in the process of responding to an RFI from India. We believe that Gripen M has good potential and can hopefully turn into a full development programme at a later stage.”

Jerker presented the Gripen seminar along with Richard Smith, Head of Marketing, Gripen, who gave an overview of the position of Gripen in the market today.

"The market looks optimistic for ...

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