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As we speak, our preparations for Aero India 2017 are in full swing. André, our display pilot, is ready to put up a great show in a couple of days. Watch how he prepares for a flying display and what he says about pulling some G’s in front of a demanding crowd of spectators. ​​

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Lovisa Sandelin from Ludvika, Central Sweden, is the first woman to graduate as a SwAF fighter pilot since 2004. She has graduated from the aviation school in Linköping, Southern Sweden, along with 22 other students and they have a few more years of training to undergo until, eventually, they have the skills to fly the Gripen fighter. 

Sandelin isn’t focused on the attention she has received due to her gender. “I see it more as something personal. Getting my pilot’s wings is a big milestone for me just as my male colleagues see it is a big milestone in their lives, so I maybe don’t focus so much on the fact that I’m a woman,” she says. She also pointed out that it is imperative for more women to apply and join the Swedish Armed and Air Forces.

Until the early 1990s, women were not qualified to become fighter pilots. This has changed over the years with many countries lifting this ban one after another. Typically perceived as a male-oriented job, the profession has seen very few women applying.

“Public perception of the profession being a typically male one could be an explanation for why so few women opt to become fighter pilots in Sweden,” says Swedish Air Force’s Air Combat School Mats Juhlander.

"But it isn’t. The Armed Forces opened as an occupation for both sexes in 1989,” he adds.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​

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FAB Gripen pilots Captain Gustavo de Oliveira Pascotto and Captain Ramon Santos Fórneas, trained with pilots of four different nations to develop new techniques at a recently held Gripen User Group Simulation event.  

During a virtual fight, the two pilots led seven other pilots to fight against 40 enemy aircraft in a series of attack and counter-attack missions. At the end of this fight, the group took down the enemy from a distance of 80 kms.

"The highlight of the training was the fact that it was very realistic. The pilots felt like they were actually flying," Fórneas said.

"Since the training involved complex scenarios, and pilots of different nationalities and experiences participated, it was an excellent opportunity to assess our level of training of beyond visual range air-to-air combat, and find the best ways to use Gripen,” Captain Pascotto said.

Captain Pascotto and Captain Fórneas were the first FAB pilots who were sent to Sweden to learn to fly Gripen. They fulfilled their first Gripen training mission in November 2014. 

Read the full story here.

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A group of Swedish Air Force pilots met their Brazilian counterparts last month and talked about operating Gripen and discussed the associated infrastructure and logistics.

The pilots were accompanied by the Saab Campaign Director in Brazil and the Swedish Defence Attaché, Lieutenant Colonel Christer Olsson. The meeting was aimed at increasing interactions between the pilots of the two countries. The Brazilian pilots also got to know about the various aspects of Gripen operation in Sweden and about the necessary adjustments for receiving the aircraft.

"Brazil is a strategic partner in the Gripen NG programme. As Sweden and Brazil will operate the same plane, it is very important to know each other, "explains Colonel Christer Olsson.

Colonel Olsson also added that this meeting was important not just for Brazil, but also for Sweden. During these interactions, the Swedish pilots also got an opportunity to understand how things work at the FAB Air Force.  “There would be more such exchanges in future,” he says. 

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Fab.mil

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The SAAF's Lieutenant Colonel Musa Mbhokota, who has clocked over 2000 flying hours on eight different aircraft types, including Gripen, is all set to become Officer Commanding AFB Overberg.

Mbhokota was one of first six SAAF pilots who went to Sweden to understand the Gripen fighter system when South Africa placed the Gripen C/D order in the nineties. He was also the first black pilot to assume command of 2 Squadron, which operates the SAAF’s Gripen fighters. He first flew Gripen in the year 2002 in Sweden.

Mbhokota will assume his first base command later this month.

Read the full story here​.

In an interview with IHS Jane's, Saab test pilot André Brännström elaborates on Gripen features and explains how the fighter maintains the highest level of capability.

"We have a range of capabilities - from air-to-air, to air-to-ground and recce. And Gripen is easy to fly. By just pushing a knob, I can go air-to-ground from an air-to-air mission. We can also do it together. I can do a close air support and an air surveillance at the same time," Brännström says.

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Batch VIII Gripen pilots are now combat ready. A ceremony to celebrate their achievement was held last week at Wing 7.

Image Courtesy: RTAF

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A month long Icelandic air policing mission by the four Czech Gripen fighters has come to an end. The Czech fighters will next be deployed for the Baltic Air Policing, according to the Czech General Staff General Josef Becvar.

Towards the end of the mission, General Josef Becvar and other officials visited the Keflavik Air Base in Iceland to meet the participating personnel.

"You have proven that the Czech Republic is certainly capable of ensuring the readiness of the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System both at home and in Iceland," General Becvar said addressing the soldiers.

As a part of this mission, Czech Gripen pilots performed their QRA duties in Iceland - they had to take off within 15 minutes of receiving an order. This was the first time that the Czech Gripen fighters were equipped with the AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile).

Read the full story here.

​Defense & Aerospace Report​'s Vago Muradian asks Gripen test pilot Marcus Wandt what makes Gripen E different and also gets the latest updates on the aircraft. 

“First, there is a new sensor suite with the AESA radar, IRST and EW which will be added with separate sensors. The idea is to get all these sensors working together and get a good sensor fusion in the avionics,” Wandt says.

According to Wandt, the transition from C/D to E/F will be easy for existing Gripen pilots.

"For a Gripen pilot, the transition from Gripen C/D to E/F will be pretty easy because flying both the aircraft is similar. It will be the human machine interface that will be different, for which pilots need to be trained," Wandt says.

​On 27 and 28 August, Slovak International Air Fest (SIAF) was held at the Sliac Air Base. Around 120,000 visitors attended the air show.

More than a 100 aircraft from 13 European countries and NATO were scheduled for aerial displays. Czech Air Force performed an impressive Gripen flying display.

Besides the aerial display, Saab had a Gripen simulator and a full scale Gripen C replica for its visitors. For gaming enthusiasts, a multi-player version of the Gripen Fighter Challenge game was also there.  

IMG_4218.jpgGripen from the Czech Air Force performing an impressive flying display

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Lining up before the flying display
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The ever popular Gripen full scale replica

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The Gripen simulator always attracts interested visitors
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Happy winners of the Gripen Fighter Challenge game, and who knows, maybe future Gripen pilots 

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