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Category: GRIPEN C/D

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Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnicky recently suggested launching a joint Central European center for training the Gripen fighter pilots, reports Ceskatelevize.cz​​.

According to the report, the center would train not just Czech Gripen pilots, but Hungarian and Slovak pilots as well. 

Czech Air Force has been using Gripen fighters for more than a decade now, while Slovakia and Hungary (which is also operating Gripen) have shown interest in launching a joint pilots training center.

Stropnicky stresses that a potential Slovak acquisition of the Gripen aircraft would support the plan to build the pilot training centre in the Czech Republic.

“It would be advantageous for us; we could be sharing our know-how, our training capacities”, Stropnicky says.

If Slovakia chooses Gripen, a joint protection of its air space with that of the Czech Republic would also come into consideration as it is a subject of negotiations from both sides for several months now.

“The possibility is there, now it really depends on the decision of the Slovak government”, Stropnický says.

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Gripen fighter aircraft were on static as well as aerial display at the recently celebrated Royal Thai Armed Forces Day 2015.

Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand, took the opportunity to congratulate the Royal Thai Army on being a pillar to protect and maintain national security.

Thailand honors the Royal Thai Armed Forces on 18 January every year. This day is also remembered in commemoration of King Naresuan, who, on 18 January 1592, won an Elephant Battle against Minchit Sra (grandson of Bayinnaung). 

Royal Thai Armed Forces Day is celebrated every year with massive military parades in various parts of Thailand. The Royal Family of Thailand organizes the main celebration in Bangkok.

Read the full story here.​

Image Courtesy: Wing7rtaf

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Time to celebrate and congratulate the two FAB pilots! 

Captains Ramon Lincoln Santos Fórneas and Gustavo de Oliveira Pascotto, who swapped Rio de Janeiro and Anápolis respectively for F7 in Såtenäs in November last year, flew their first solo flight yesterday, reports Fab.mil​.

The two Brazilian pilots have flown Gripen before as well but only in the company of Swedish Air Force flight instructors. Their first training sortie in the rear seat of a Gripen happened on 19 November last year.

The two Brazilian pilots will complete their six months long training in April this year. By the end of April, they will have learnt everything about Gripen and will return to Brazil as newly qualified Gripen instructors.

Read more about the two FAB pilots here​.

Image Courtesy: Fab.mil

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On 22 January, two dozen students, out of which eight will be future Gripen pilots, graduated at their Flight School in Malmslätt outside Linköping and received their sought after Wings, reports Forsvarsmakten​.

For the last one year, these 24 students have been flying training aircraft Saab SK 60 which has been serving the Swedish Armed Forces since 1967. A new, upgraded version of the SK 60 was introduced in autumn 2013 with features like GPS system and other navigation aids to help the pilot navigate more precisely.

In his message to the young pilots, Major General Micael Bydén said, “Getting the wings after passing the basic flying training and graduating, is a milestone in a pilot's career. The wing is a sign that you have reached a certain level. You should be very proud of these wings.”

Besides the eight pilots who will continue to train to become Gripen pilots, four graduates will move on and learn how to fly C 130 Hercules or Saab 340, and the remaining 12 graduates, two of which are women, will fly helicopters.

All the 24 graduates have to take on further courses before they are ready to be placed at an operational Air wing. The next phase is called GTU which is a Basic Tactical Training where the pilots will learn to practice more advanced and tactical exercises.

Read the full story:  Drömmen blev verklighet

Image Courtesy:Forsvarsmakten

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On January 16, Carl-Johan Edstrom took over as the flotilla manager at Norrbotten Wing. In an interview with Forsvarsmakten, the Gripen pilot talks about Nordic Cooperation and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Edstrom’s career as a fighter pilot started in 1990 and six years later he was the Group Manager at 212.stridsflygdivisionen. Since then he has held a number of positions. He was also the Operation Commander of the Swedish air operation over Libya in 2011.

“I am still active as a pilot with flight service on both the Gripen and SK 60. During my career I have flown more than 2500 hours of combat and flight school,” Edstrom says.

According to the new flotilla manager, the biggest challenge is to recruit, train and retain soldiers, civilians and officers for missions. However, he stresses that there are opportunities for the Wing as well.

“There have been major geopolitical changes in our region in recent years. F 21 and the war troops will play a central role in asserting Swedish territorial integrity, safeguarding Swedish interests and promoting safety. Wing's active involvement in the Nordic cooperation contributes to increased security in our region,” Edstrom says.

Read the full interview: Tillbaka till flottiljen – som chef

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Royal Thai Air Force's Air Chief Marshal Trithot Sonchaeng and Women's association paid a visit to the sqaudrons at Wing 7, Surat Thani.

The Air Chief Marshal and the ladies were welcomed at a military airport Squadron 7 on January 7, 2015.

The Royal Thai Air Force has 12 Gripen C/Ds, two Saab 340 Erieye AEW Aircraft and one Saab 340B for training and transport duties. The first Saab 340 Erieye AEW and Saab 340 were delivered in 2010 while the first batch of six Gripen was handed over in early 2011. The other six Gripen fighters were delivered in two batches in 2013.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Rtaf.mil

Former air display pilot Martin Hansson has received the F17 Medal of merit in silver for his valuable work, reports Kent Löving of Forsvarsmakten

Hansson was air display pilot between 2007 and 2014. He performed his last Gripen air display at the Danish Air Show 2014, Karup.

“Martin Hansson has made great personal sacrifices as an air display pilot to market the Defense force, Air Force, and F17. He has done it for many years without incidents and in his work has shown proof of independence, humility and inspiration. Martin Hansson has very much personally contributed to the Blekinge wing’s good reputation,” the report adds.

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About flight demonstrations, Hansson said last year that though it is a standard program, sometimes he would add something extra while performing his stunts. 

"A demonstration program includes the most advanced maneuvers that pilots can do with Gripen and it can be mentally tiring," he said.

Read the full story: Uppvisningspilot får förtjänstmedalj

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten

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This year, Hungarian Air Force (HuAF) Gripen pilots will be, for the first time, trained for air-to-air refueling (AAR), reports Legiero.blog.hu.

As per the blog post, HuAF Gripen will patrol the Baltic sky in the second half of 2015 and the first half of 2016. The participating Air Force pilots must be prepared for an AAR while providing air policing duties in 2016. In order to be equipped with the AAR knowledge by that time, the pilots need to be trained this summer.

The details of the training are not available yet, but a Flyvapen C-130 tanker may be used. Last month, Hungarian Air Force Gripen practiced familiarization flights in Estonia in order to get ready for the Baltic mission.

The blogpost adds that though this AAR knowledge is not a must for the Baltic Air Policing in the last 4 month of 2015, but it would provide a lot of flexibility to the service providers.

Read the full story: Idén először tankolnak a levegőben a pumafejes magyar Gripenek​

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Extra maintenance equipment for Gripen fighters are being supplied to the Hungarian Air Force by a Swedish Defense and Security Export Agency, reports UPI.com.

According to the report, the Swedish Defense and Security Export agency did not specify the equipment to be provided, but said the gear will "strengthen Hungary's capacity for taking part in international operations”.

The extra maintenance gear is being provided under a supplementary agreement to a Gripen lease contract that was signed in 2002 and runs until 2026.

It was 2001 when Hungary decided on a lease contract for 14 Gripen aircraft. The decision made Hungary one of the first NATO members to order an advanced, multi-role, latest generation fighter aircraft for national defence tasks as well as for NATO and EU missions. All aircraft were delivered in 2006 and 2007, and all 14 aircraft were in operation with the Hungarian Air Force by the end of 2008.

Read the full story here.

The Royal Thai Air Force, RTAF, arranged its traditional Children´s Day event at Don Mueang Air Force base in Bangkok, January 10th 2015. As always it became an event which attracted a huge crowd of children, parents, aviation fans and even some plane spotters from abroad. 

One main feature during the day was the aerobatic shows by two RTAF Gripen aircraft from Wing 7 in Surat Thani. Several other RTAF aircraft participated in fly-by formations, like the AU-23A Peacemaker which discharged smoke strings in the Thai national flag colours over the crowd. Most aircraft in RTAF´s inventory were exhibited on the tarmac in front of the Wing.

Saab-Avia co-arranged games and Q&A for the kids in its booth. As last year, the three top prizes were flights with the Gripen Simulator at  Avia Satcom HQ just off Don Mueang airport.

Check out the photos:

gripen_6.jpgRTAF Gripen roars as they take off in front of thousands of visitors
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gripen_3.jpgWriting autographs and posing for pictures
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A polite Thai wai for the spectators

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The lucky winner got a framed Gripen poster
Image Courtesy: Dennis Thern and Wisarut  Tanprasert​ (the bottom two)

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