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Category: GRIPEN C/D

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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.

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 ...

The development of Gripen E, the most cost-efficient and modern state-of-the-art multirole fighter jet is underway. From a more powerful engine to an enhanced avionics system, there are many new features that make Gripen E a class apart. 

Saab's Chief Test Pilot Richard Ljungberg talks to IHS Jane's about various features of Gripen E, explaining how it is different from the aircraft’s earlier versions.​

​Lennart Sindahl, Head of Aeronautics Business Segment, Saab AB, tells the Gripen story at the Farnborough International Air Show 2014. 

"We are at a very good point right now. We have just introduced the version 20 of Gripen C/D. We are enhancing the air to air, the air to ground and the radar capabilities. Gripen C/D is the most capable fighter you can buy today," he says.

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Thanks to the fast paced development in the field of defense technology, missiles are becoming increasingly smart. Today’s air forces therefore need a solution that equips them with the capability to counter the latest in missile technology.

Enhanced Survivability Technology (ESTL), whose maiden flight on Gripen was carried out in June this year, offers effective missile approach warning to counter RF and IR threats of the future.

ESTL provides covert sustainable pre-emptive dispensing, missile warning, forward firing of flares and cocktail dispensing. All these capabilities have been incorporated into the form-factor of a missile utilizing the well established AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM interfaces and characteristics for lean aircraft integration.

ESTL which can handle up to eight threats at a time, brings together several components from Saab's countermeasures portfolio, including BOL and BOP dispensers, integrated defensive aids system (IDAS) system as well as the defensive aids control unit.

“ESTL offers enhanced survivability in combat and conflict situations. Traditional Countermeasures may encounter difficulties with the latest generation of AAMs and SAMs, but the ESTL concept includes a module of forward firing flares. This, together with the missile approach warning sensors and an optional chaff capability, makes ESTL a powerful shield against the latest missile developments,” says Carl-Johan Bergholm, Head of Business Unit Electronic Warfare Systems at Saab. 

Read more about ESTL here

Swedish Air Force Gripen presented a terrific show for the visitors at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) 2014, held at RAF Fairford last month.

RIAT is acknowledged as the world's largest military airshow. This year, 240 aircraft from 31 air arms representing 25 countries participated in the event.

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A few days ahead of the Farnborough International Airshow 2014, Head of the Hungarian Air Force, Brigadier General Albert Sáfár announced that Hungary is looking to acquire air-to-ground weapons for Gripen, according to a news report in IHS Jane’s

Hungarian Air Force intends to beef up its equipment portfolio in order to fulfill its commitment to support the Visegrad Four (V4) European Union battlegroup, the report says. 

Sáfár said that as a part of the EU plan, Hungary is expected to provide the 3,000 strong battlegroup with its air-to-ground close air support capability. To meet the targets of the plan, the Hungarian Air Force would be required to invest in capabilities like laser and GPS guided bombs, training weapons, night vision goggles, and ROVER terminals for forward air controllers to download video imagery from the Hungarian Gripen's existing Rafael Litening advanced targeting pods.

Read the full story: Hungary seeks air-to-ground weapons for Gripen

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Gripen E’s development is in full swing and Saab is showcasing the fighter aircraft at various events across the globe. The interest in Gripen has been unprecedented. However, this has not slackened Saab’s efforts for the continued upgradation process of Gripen C/D, reports Flightglobal.

Saab maintains that any customer that buys Gripen today will be able to upgrade and enhance their aircraft when needed. Gripen aircraft has been developed on the principle of ‘Designed to be Upgraded’. Also, instead of building an aircraft and then conducting a major and very costly mid-life upgrade, Saab makes smaller critical improvements every two to three years. 

With Gripen, one can adapt and shift focus when desired, Saab says. The upgrades, called as Materiel System or MS, can be adapted to emerging requirements. The Swedish defense and security company has completed "edition 20" of its updates for the C/D models, which will become operational in 2015. 

MS 20 block upgrade includes improved radar modes; a digital close air support capability; increased Link 16 connectivity; civil navigation enhancements; chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) protection for the pilot, night-capable operations using the SPK 39 Modular Reconnaissance Pod II; and a ground collision avoidance system (GCAS).

At the recently held Farnborough International air show 2014, Lennart Sindahl, head of aeronautics, Saab said, “This is an aircraft that will fly until 2030 at least. The Gripen C/D is not something of the past, it is something of the future and we foresee more customers coming ...

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The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has dispatched six of its twelve Gripen fighter aircraft to Pitch Black 2014 in Australia, beginning 1 August and ending 22 August, held in a vast area in Northern Australia with Royal Australia Air Force (RAAF) Base Tindal as the main base together with RAAF Base Darwin. 

All six RTAF Gripen left their base Wing 7 at Surat Thani on July 29 with scheduled stops in Singapore and Bali before their arrival at RAAF Base Darwin on July 30. 

Seven countries are taking part in the exercise; the host RAAF, Royal New Zealand Air Force, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), the United States Air Force(USAF), RTAF, United Arab Emirates Air Force and the French Armed Forces in New Caledonia.

Over 110 aircraft are participating in the exercise. The RTAF Gripen are joined by F-18 A Hornet and F-18 F Super Hornet from RAAF, F/A 16 from USAF, F-16 Falcon and F-15 SG Eagle from RSAF and Mirage 2000-9 from the United Arab Emirates Air Force. 

Besides fighter aircraft, several support aircraft like the KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-30 Multirole Tanker also play important roles at Pitch Black. 

During the exercise, participants will conduct Offensive Counter Air and Defensive Counter Air missions, launched from RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal. Exercise participants will utilise the Delamere Range Facility and Bradshaw Field Training Area.

Mission scenarios will progressively become larger and more complicated through the course of the Exercise, requiring mission commanders to factor in a variety of air combat roles.

You can read more about the exercise at its official website here​.

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