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Saab’s South African facilities, Saab Grintek Defence (SGD), has emerged as a global EW player according to a report in Defence Web.

Saab SGD’s orders include delivery of microwave components for the antennas and electronic warfare components of the Gripen fighter jet for the international market, says the report. These parts are currently being assembled for Gripen fighters at SGD’s facilities in Centurion outside Pretoria.

SGD, the largest Saab subsidiary outside of Sweden, was built in the 1990s. Saab invested in SGD as a part of the offset requirements which were integral to the Gripen South Africa contract.

As per Chris Skinner, head of marketing and sales at SGD, Saab backing has helped position the company for increased international export sales tremendously and the company today has turnover in excess of a billion rand a year and employs 700-800 people. 80-90% of this revenue is from foreign orders.

Read the full story: Saab Grintek Defence growing as global EW player

​The Air Base Blog recently presented a series of pictures of the actual technical maintenance of the Hungarian Air Force Gripen fighters, most of which takes place indoors.

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The staff prepares for the maintenance of the engine and the nose gear

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The sign on the side of the aircraft reminds the team about the work in progress and signals them not to let the aircraft down as the work on the hydraulic system is not complete yet

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The new nose gear waiting to be installed by the engineers

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That interesting moment when the aircraft's wheels are pulled in, while the plane is standing in the hangar. This happens only when Gripen is lifted with special equipment.

Image Courtesy: Air Base Blog

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It is so easy to fly a Saab Gripen that even someone with no training can fly it with the aid of an instructor," says reporter Arman Ahmed of the New Straits Times.

Ahmed, who recently got an opportunity to fly a Gripen, had a bit of apprehension in the beginning, but after a minimal coaching by Gripen chief test pilot Richard Ljungberg, he was confident to get advanced fighter airborne. After 15 minutes of flight time, Ahmed was instructed by Ljungberg to locate three enemy aircraft and shoot them down.

Ahmed notes that Gripen’s ability to trim and stabilize itself was apparent as it was easy to lock on the enemy aircraft and squeeze the trigger. All three targets were dispatched in the first burst of gunfire. 

“We made Gripen easy to fly so that the pilot can focus on different threat scenarios. The pilot is a decision maker. The plane can basically fly itself without requiring too much attention from the pilot,” says Richard Ljungberg.

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Two South African Air Force Gripen performed at an SA naval exercise called Ex Good Hope VI last month, reports Navy.mil.za.

In one of the multi-threat exercises aimed at building defence against air and subsurface threats, a Gripen bomber aircraft and a Lear Jet played a crucial role. The warfare department used sensors to detect the aircraft miles away and once the target was locked on, it was decided what type of weapon would be used. In this scenario, an FSG HESSEN and an SAS SPIOENKOP were hit by a missile from the Gripen fighter aircraft, prompting the ships to conduct blanket searches and damage control. 

The objective of Ex Good Hope VI included training and promoting naval skills and maintaining full operational readiness of the SA Navy. 

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy:SA Navy​

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The last Swedish military experts who have been providing Gripen conversion training to Czech pilots for ten years now, will leave the Caslav Air Base soon, reports Prague Daily Monitor​.

The Czech government signed a contract on a 10-year lease of 14 new Gripen aircraft in 2004. With the delivery of Gripen in August 2005, all personnel at the air base in Caslav had to go through a Gripen conversion training.

As a part of the contract, 10 Swedish military experts (pilots and ground personnel) were sent to the Caslav Air Base to train the pilots to fly the Gripen aircraft and technical staff to repair them. Over the years, the number of the Swedish experts at the Czech Air Base has decreased to three. 

The three Swedish military experts will leave the Czech Air Base in the beginning of September.

Read the full story here.

Gripen at RIAT 2014

Two Gripen fighters have been confirmed (for air and static display) to participate at Royal International Air Tattoo 2015, one of world's largest military airshows..

The first Royal International Air Tattoo was held at North Weald Airfield in 1971 and was inspired by two air traffic controllers, Paul Bowen and Tim Prince. In 1976, international flying machines debuted in the exercise and over the years, RIAT has emerged as an enormous military event with more than 250 aircraft participating each year. 

RIAT 2015 will be held between 17 and 19 July.

Know more about RIAT here.

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Do you have a knack for photography? Do you love Gripen? Have you clicked pictures of Gripen that you are so proud of?

Yes? Well, here is your chance to claim some fame. Enter our competition and your photo could feature in the next exclusive Gripen Calendar for 2016.

To enter the contest, you need to follow @saab on Instagram, catch an extraordinary Gripen moment, tag it with #Gripenphotocompetition on Instagram and keep your fingers crossed.

The last date to enter the competition is September 1, 2015.

Know more about the contest: Gripen Photo Contest

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Denel Dynamics has bagged a five-year production contract for the A-Darter air-to-air missile, to be integrated with SAAF Gripen C/D fighters, reports IHS Jane's.

According to the report, the missiles have been developed under SAAF’s Project Kamas which commenced in 2011. The missiles will complement the small batch of IRIS-T missiles which are already integrated with SAAF Gripen C/D.

A-Darter is a fifth-generation Imaging Infrared (IIR) SRAAM air-to-air missile system with capabilities like a lock-on after launch, memory tracking and thrust-vector control that gives it a very high angle of attack. The missile also features countermeasures resistance with a 180-degrees look angle and 120-degrees per second track rate.

Besides Gripen, A-Darter missiles will be integrated to SAAF’s Hawk Mk120 lead-in fighter trainer. Denel is also discussing a production contract with Brazil which may use A-Darter for its upgraded F-5s and Gripen E/F in future.

Read the full story here.

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Brazilian TV channel Fantastico’s journalist Roberto Kovalick flew in the Gripen, joining the select ranks of about 600 people who have flown the Swedish fighter so far. Among those are the Brazilian pilots Gustavo Pascotto and Ramon Fórneas who will be among the first from the Brazilian Air Force to fly the fighters. Among the grueling tests that prepares them for their mission is the centrifugal which simulates 9G conditions and is a critical test for the ability to fly the plane. 

The Brazilian fighter pilots have spent three months learning to operate the Gripen and now they are undergoing combat training, which, in modern fighters, with all the technology, can take place outside visual range. "We are also provided visual combat training as you see in the old movies, which is really eye-to-eye fighting," says Captain Ramón Fórneas.

Roberto Kovalick prepared for his flight on the simulator. Once he learned the basics, the commander at the simulator gave him the go ahead for more intricate maneuvers: “The simulator is fantastic. We see the earth spinning and I see rivers on top of me and I'm giving a full turn with the plane. It is a spectacular sensation. It's like it's happening in reality, but in total safety. If something goes wrong, no one gets hurt," he says.

Roberto Kovalick now gets an opportunity to fly the aircraft. "We're finally taking off with the Gripen. One of the features of this aircraft is that it needs a very short runway to ...

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This year, the Swedish Air Force Gripen plays an important role in a number of training events held in the Baltic Sea region, reports Forsvarsmakten.

Baltic Region Training Event – BRTE

The first BRTE was held in 2008. The training exercise focuses on interoperability and cooperation between NATO and Partnership for Peace (PfP) nations like Sweden and Finland.

According to Forsvarsmakten, BRTE has many elements and Sweden is taking part in step exercises that aim to improve the pilot's ability to maneuver Gripen in the presence of different types of aircraft.

Finland-Sweden Training Event

This training event provides a cost-effective support for the training of the fighter pilots of the participating nations. The ongoing training exercise has preplanned mission scenarios which will be most likely performed above the sea.

Arctic Challenge Exercise – ACE

Carried out in cooperation between Finland, Sweden and Norway, Arctic Challenge Exercise (ACE) has evolved from the earlier Swedish exercises - Nordic Air Meet and Cross Border Training. The first ACE was carried out in 2013.

The exercise aims to increase ability to collaborate with other nations to solve tasks in composite joints. It also aims to develop the ability to conduct aerial refueling and improve tactical management of air forces.

ACE 2015 will be held from 25 May to 5 June.

Read the full story: Flygvapnets övningar i Östersjöregionen – vad är vad?

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