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Czech Air Force Gripen which were displayed at SIAF 2014 this weekend have a jam packed September as they are all set to participate in Czech International Air Fest (CIAF) 2014 and NATO Days In Ostrava and Czech Air Force Days as well.

Over 30 aircraft will be on static and dynamic display at the 21st anniversary of the Czech International Air Fest. The event will be held at Hradec Králové airport on 6 and 7 September. There would be seven hours of flight program on both days.

One of the largest events of its kind in Czech Republic and Central Europe, ‘NATO Days in Ostrava and Czech Air Force Days’ will be held on 20 and 21 September this year. It would be organized at Ostrava Leos Janacek Airport and would include static aircraft displays, flying displays, in-flight fuel refueling exercises, exhibitions and a wide range of air and land defence equipment used by NATO member countries.

Both SIAF 2014 and NATO Days In Ostrava and Czech Air Force Days are considered as very significant event in Czech Republic and last year, they were both launched with a rare flight formation in which Czech Republic’s Gripen and combat aircraft L-159 Alca flew with MiG-29 and training aircraft L-39 Albatros of the Slovak Air Force. 

Image Courtesy:Czech Army Website​

​Financial Times’s Carola Hoyos used to think that the movie Top Gun had influenced the way fighter aircraft pilots stride towards their aircraft, that their gait is a result of watching the movie too many times. 

When she recently test flew Gripen with Saab’s chief test pilot Hans Einerth, she realized that clearly, there were things that Tom Cruise did not tell.

There really is no other way to move in a G-suit, for the air cavities that run down each leg force the wearer to widen his – or her – gait. Add the helmet, whose oxygen mask makes carrying it anywhere other than wedged between hip and armpit almost impossible, and the Tom Cruise impersonation is complete, she says.

Carola also realizes that It took almost an hour to get dressed for the ride – six times longer than the 10 minutes it takes the Gripen to fly the 150km from Linköping to reach its training area above the Baltic sea.

“Putting on the heavy g suit and testing the oxygen mask brings home like nothing else the dangers involved in putting your body through forces it was never designed to withstand in a plane that has not undergone the safety tests all commercial jets require,” she says.

Chief test pilot Hans Einerth, however assures her that he can fly so calmly that she would think she is sitting on a sofa.

As the duo flies faster than the speed of sound, Carola is in for a surprise ...

​Czech Air Force Gripen, with a colourful tiger scheme, presented an amazing aerial display at the opening day of Airshow Laage in Germany last week.

Airshow Laage marked the 55th Anniversary of Tactical Air Force Wing 73 "Steinhoff" and 30 years of flight operations at Laage Airbase. About 15 aircraft performed simultaneously in the air and there were more than 30 aircraft on static display at the airshow.

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Czech Republic Air Force Gripen will participate in Ample Strike 2014, a NATO aviation training exercise to be held next month in the country, reports Prague Post.

The report quoted Magdaléna Dvořáková, from the general staff press department saying, “A joint training of allied troops is the goal of the exercise. Pilots and soldiers will train the guidance to the ground targets when supporting ground operations.”

According to the report, Ample Strike 2014 would be the biggest international exercise to be held this year in Czech Republic.

“The flights will take place daily between nine in the morning and eleven in the evening, mainly in the military areas of Náměšť, Libava, Boletice and Bechyne,” Commanding Officer Miroslav Svoboda said.

Ample Strike 2014 will be held between September 3 and September 15. Participants include Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and the Netherlands.

Read the full story: NATO air force training slated for Czech Republic

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In the first week of August, the Czech Air Force flew an exclusive mission to photograph the 21st Tactical Air Force aircraft, reports the Czech Army website.

According to the report, several months’ preparation came to an end on 6 August when the one and a half hour photographic flight was conducted. 

L-39ZA Albatros light combat aircraft took off from the Čáslav airbase and shortly the CASA C-295M transport aircraft from the Kbely airbase took off with well known and respected aviation photographers on board. Two subsonic ground attack L-159 aircraft and three supersonic fighters LAS -39 Gripen followed.

Within a minute, the CASA aircraft reached the required three kilometers flight level and set the heading. Three aircraft types from 21 Tactical Airbase followed it and formed an air to air formation with the transport aircraft.

The formation was changed after ten minutes. The formation was flying below the photographer level. The photographers took pictures from the side windows of the CASA aircraft.

At the end, the photographic mission was judged as a very successful mission by the participants.

Read the full story: Podívejte se na nové fotografie letounů české armády​

Image Courtesy: Czech Republic Army website​ 

​Royal Thai Air Force Gripen participated in an Air to Air formation with Mirage 2000-9 from the United Arab Emirates Air Force, FA-18F Super Hornet and an F/A-18A Hornet from the Royal Australian Air Force during Pitch Black 2014.

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Image Courtesy: Department of Defence, Australia​​

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Some fast facts on Gripen: The Swedish fighter aircraft was originally designed for flexible deployment with a small logistical footprint. This was due to the Swedish Air Force’s policy during the cold war to operate out of a number of dispersed bases across the country. This made it vital to keep staff resources, support systems and spares to a minimum. As a result of this, Gripen was designed to operate from runways only 800x16 metres in length. This means it can land on a regular highway, which further improves its logistical flexibility. 

This capability has been carried over to Gripen NG.

There is more. High availability is vital for small air forces who rely on aircraft that offer a long Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) and short Mean Time To Repair (MTTR). Gripen NG has been designed with this in mind. Gripen NG has also been designed for minimal turnaround time. For example, an air-to-air combat set up takes only 10 minutes to perform, including refueling and rearming.

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Six RTAF Gripen are flying for two daily missions of up to 2.5 hours over the vast Bradshaw and Delamere Ranges south of Darwin at exercise Pitch Black 2014.

The aim of the exercise is to practice Offensive Counter Air and Defensive Counter Air combat in a simulated yet complex war environment. The exercise divides the participating aircraft into a 'red team' and a 'blue team' based at separate locations, with one attacking the other.

According to a news report in IHS Jane’s​, Pitch Black’s primary focus is offensive counter air/defensive counter air missions between the attacking (Blue) forces staging from Darwin against defending (Red) force at Tindal. However, a wider range of missions have been added which include increased participation by ground elements such as attacking ground targets in conjunction with Joint Terminal Air Controllers, tactical airlift missions, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance elements.

It is RTAF Gripen’s first participation in the exercise. Prior to Pitch Black 2014, the RTAF Gripen were displayed at the LIMA defence show in Malaysia, and the BRIDEX in Brunei last year.

Image Courtesy: Department of Defence, Australia​​

Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) Wing Commander Nattavut Duangsungnaen briefs Jessee Dorset of ABC Channel2 about Gripen and talks about his experience at Exercise Pitch Black 2014.

“We have to fly very far and we have to stay in the air for quite a long time. Without the three fuel tanks, we cannot fly that long,” explains Commander Duangsungnaen while giving a rundown of Gripen parts to the ABC journalist.

According to a report in Flightglobal, the RTAF Gripen have been conducting primarily air-to-air missions at Pitch Black 2014, carrying simulated AMRAAM and AIM-9X AAMs for blue force offensive counter air and red force defensive counter air missions.

The six participating Gripen have operated without any tanker support at the exercise. The fighter aircraft instead use three auxiliary tanks for their two daily missions of up to 2.5 hours over the vast Bradshaw and Delamere Ranges south of Darwin.

Exercise Pitch Black 2014 ends on 22 August.

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Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) Wing Commander Nattavut Duangsungnaen used to hate fighter aircraft as a child, as they woke him up every time they landed on a landing pad. However, things changed as he grew up to realize that every boy in the neighborhood wanted to be a fighter pilot because it was cool.

In an Abc.net report that documents conversations between pilots in their hangars, Commander Nattavut Duangsungnaen talks about his experience at the Exercise Pitch Black so far and what is it like to fly Gripen.

"Before we do the mission we do what we call the coordination and the brief, so we have a lot of time to talk pilot stuff," Commander Nattavut Duangsungnaen says.

RTAF has sent half of its fleet of 12 Gripen to Darwin for Pitch Black, along with 15 pilots and 75 technicians.

The RTAF Commander adds that their base in Thailand is in the southern part which is hot and humid. Darwin, on the other hand is hot and dry and dry air is good for the avionics.

Commander Duangsungnaen was flying the F-16 before Gripen and he says that the latter employs a lot of technology and hence it is a lot of fun.

"Gripen is a very maneuverable aircraft because it has a big engine with an advanced flight control system. And maintenance too. You cannot fit the F-16 in this hanger. We can fit three Gripen in the hanger," he adds.

About of 2,500 personnel from seven ...

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