Between 6 and 16 October 2014, Swedish Air Force Gripen pilots were at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland to participate in Joint Warrior, Europe’s largest military exercise.
Joint Warrior is a multinational NATO exercise involving all three of the UK’s Armed Forces – the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.
With a participation of more than 22 warships and submarines, 52 fixed wing aircraft, and a total of nearly 3,500 personnel from various countries across the globe, Joint Warrior provides a good opportunity to test the incident preparedness capabilities of the Armed Forces.
The two week drill includes a range of modern, realistic simulated scenarios. The participants are divided into red (enemy forces) and blue (coalition forces) teams for practicing air to air wars. Every participating nation gets to be a part of both red and blue team.
"Since we are a partner nation, operating with NATO countries gives us a lot when it comes to interoperability. Also, different British squadrons have a lot of experience from operations and working abroad and we also get a piece of that knowledge when we co-operate with them," says Lt Col Adam Nelson in an interview with Forces TV.
Over the next nine
weeks, five Gripen and a contingent of 70 ground personnel and pilots from the
21st Tactical Air Base at Caslav will be based at the Keflavik airport to
safeguard Iceland’s sovereign airspace, reports IHS Jane’s.
According toThe Aviationist, the Gripens' mission is to provide Airborne Surveillance and Interception Capabilities to meet Iceland's Peacetime Preparedness Needs (ASICIPPN) on behalf of NATO. The aircraft deployed to Iceland are carrying live AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles.
Czech Republic has
been on a similar mission to protect the Baltic airspace in 2009 and 2012 as
well. Four Czech Air Force Gripen, along with 60 trained personnel, were sent
for Baltic air policing in 2012. As a part of this mission, Czech Gripen pilots
did 15 QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) take-offs and completed 326 flight hours
during 298 flights.
"In comparison to
the Air Policing mission in the Baltic there is little difference other than
the fact that we will be operating at a greater distance from our home base and
in slightly more challenging climactic conditions," said Colonel Martin
Nezbeda, commander of the mission and deputy commander of the 21st Tactical Air
Iceland is one of the
founding members of NATO and it does not have armed forces of its own. Till
2006, the United States took responsibility for its air defence followed by
various NATO members in the consecutive years.
Czech Defence Minister
Martin Stropnický feels it will be a great opportunity for the Czech pilots to
gain valuable experience. As a part of the nine week Iceland mission, the Czech
The Gripen fleet at Norrbotten Wing has started practicing missions in dark starting last week, reports forsvarsmakten.
It is not a new practice.Night flying exercises have been conducted for several years and October usually marks the start of the training sessions. This month, pilots at air wing F17 in Luleå, northern Sweden will fly night training sorties every Thursday.
The beauty of night operations in northern Sweden is that it can be conducted during daylight hours, i.e. until 18.00, because a large part of the day is dark during the winter months, the report says.
“Night flying is important for the air force as the aircraft are supposed to fly in daylight as well as night time and in every weather condition,” says Squadron Commander Jörgen Marqvardsen.
According to the report, about 14 night flights will be conducted between October 2014 and March 2015.
Read the full story: Mörkerflygningar på torsdagar
Image Courtesy: Louise Levin
Hungary and Slovenia have entered into a military cooperation, according to which, Hungarian Air Force Gripen will now protect the Slovenian airspace, reports Magyarhirlap.hu.
Slovenia joined NATO in 2004. Like Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, Slovenia also does not have air policing capabilities and in accordance with NATO standards, it does not plan to develop such capabilities either. Italian Air Force has provided air cover to Slovenia so far.
The Hungarian Air Force has 12 Gripen C and 2 Gripen D. At a NATO conference in November 2011, Hungary showed an interest to join hands with Italy in protecting Slovenian airspace.
In January this year, an agreement regarding Hungarian Gripen’s involvement in Slovenian air defense was finalized between Defence Minister Csaba Hende and his Slovenian counterpart Ales Hojs Lendava in Slovenia. This agreement was ratified on 4 October 2014 after which Hungary and Italy will now jointly provide air policing coverage to Slovenian airspace.
Read the full story: Magyar gépek is védik Szlovénia légterét
Swedish Air Force Gripen pilots recently participated in exercise MACE XVI, a leading international electronic warfare training event hosted by Slovakia, reports forsvarsmakten.
The purpose of the exercise was to train methods of overcoming anti-air defences by the use of tactical aircraft in conditions of radio-electronic interference and to practice air combat in fighters.
More than 650 personnel from various NATO countries and Australia and Sweden participated in the exercise. Besides Gripen, participating aircraft included F-16 from Belgium, Denmark and Norway , the German Learjet 40 and the French Rafale.
All the air equipment was being looked after by Sliac Airbase, with the command located in Zvolen and the ground equipment stationed at the training facility at Lest in Central Slovakia.
According to the report, the exercise was a unique opportunity for the participating Swedish Air Force members to test and develop their countermeasure response and effectiveness.
“The Air Force has once again proved itself at international exercises. Thanks to our competent staff who ensured 100 percent availability of the aircraft. We have flown in a variety of missions in different countries. Other nations have appreciated our flexibility and expertise. The experience we bring is invaluable, both in terms of validation of capabilities and improvement needed,” says Pierre Ziherl, Contingent Commander, Swedish Air Force.
This is the second time that Slovakia hosted this exercise. The previous one was held in 2012.
Read the full story: MACE XVI
Image Courtesy: forsvarsmakten
Four Gripen from Air Wing 17 (F17) in Ronneby were at the Estonian airbase Ämari to participate in the 19th BRTE training event between 30 September and 1 October, reports forsvarsmakten.
BRTEs (Baltic Region Training Event) are routine training events to hone NATO's air capability and exercise rotational NATO Air Policing assets.
It was the first time that the Swedish Gripen were in Estonia to participate in the event along with aircraft from Portugal – F16, Canada’s CF-18, Germany’s EF-2000, Estonia’s L-410, F18, Netherlands’ F16 and Finland’s F18.
"An important goal of this exercise is to practice in cooperation with other countries and thereby increase interoperability,"said Lieutenant Colonel Jorgen Axelsson.
One of the exercise scenarios includes an aircraft that loses radio contact with the radio aircraft control. Other aircraft are then sent to intercept and if needed, escort the unknown aircraft out of the prohibited airspace.
BRTEs are planned and executed by NATO and Sweden was invited as a member of the Partnership for Peace.
Read the full story: Flygövning i Estland
Photo Courtesy: Christian Timmig (first image) and Kent Löving/ Swedish Armed Forces (second image)
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has decided to send a contingent, which includes two Gripen fighters and a mobile air operations team, on standby to the newly-established African Union’s African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (Acirc), reports IHS Jane's.
According to the Chief of the South African Army, Lieutenant General Vusi Masondo, the joint combat group, with a strength of more than 1,500 personnel, will include a composite mechanized car squadron, a light artillery battery and a troop from 2 Field Engineer Regimen.
The South African Navy will also support with its inshore craft and Marines as per the requirement.
Acirc is a temporary, stand-by force capable of responding quickly to crisis situations in Africa. It will be replaced by the African Standby Force when it becomes fully operational.
Read the full story: South Africa to place troops on standby for African crisis response
The Czech Air Force has decided to send five Gripen and a total of 80 aircrew and ground personnel to Iceland to protect its airspace during the last quarter of 2014, reports NATO’s website.
The main body of the Czech contingent departed from 21st Tactical Air Force Base, Čáslav today and five Czech Air Force’s Gripen aircraft will leave for Iceland on Thursday, 9 October.
According to the report, on their way up north, the Czech Gripen aircraft will be supported by an Italian KC-767 tanker aircraft which will provide both transport capacity for the personnel and material for the Czech contingent. It will also conduct air-to-air refueling for the Gripen fighters.
Besides providing airborne surveillance and interception capabilities, the Czech Air Force will also conduct air defence flying training missions and provide the necessary degree of training of NATO and Icelandic support personnel.
The extension of Czech Republic’s autumn mission was announced earlier this year. In May, Czech Defense ministry's spokesman Jan Pejsek told the Czech media that though Czech Republic has not received any official request from the NATO headquarters yet, it is ready to comply with NATO’s request for extending Gripen’s air policing period.
Read the full story: CZECH JAS-39 GRIPEN DEPLOY TO ICELAND ON NATO MISSION
Last month, several Swedish Gripen fighter aircraft were sent from Ronneby airbase to intercept two Russian Su-24 Fencer combat planes that violated Sweden’s airspace, reports Expressen.
According to the report, on 17 September, the two Russian combat planes skirted the Polish coast before heading north at low altitude towards the island Öland, in the Baltic Sea. The planes flew a couple of kilometers on the wrong side of the border and quickly turned eastward when a Swedish Gripen intercepted.
The Swedish Armed Forces have refused to comment on the incident before a proper analysis of the situation. According to Expressen’s sources, however, this incident was aimed at testing Sweden’s air defense readiness.
As early as August this year, the Swedish Armed Forces had announced that it had increased intelligence gathering and had called in extra staff to its headquarters over the crisis in Ukraine.
The developments in Ukraine have led to increased training activity in the Baltic Sea. In August, the Swedish Air Force deployed two Gripen fighter aircraft in Gotland where the jets would be in a better position to react quickly to the situation in the Baltic.
Read the full story: Svenskt luftrum kränkt av ryska attackplan
Denel is all set to go ahead with the pre-qualification flight testing of its most prestigious product, A-Darter air-to-air missile on the Saab Gripen NG, in anticipation of orders from the Brazilian Air Force, reports Flightglobal.
It took 20 years of development before Denel fully cleared the flight envelope of the infrared-guided, short-range missile on Gripen.
According to another report in Defence Web, production of A-Darter is expected to begin next year and the first missiles should be in service by 2016.
The report quoted Deon Olivier, Business Development Executive at Denel Dynamics saying that Brazil will initially buy a hundred missiles for its Gripens as part of an initial production run of around 250 missiles.
A-Darter, also known as V3E Agile Darter, is a fifth-generation short range, air-to-air missile (SRAAM) that offers countermeasures resistance with a 180-degree look angle and 120-degrees per second track rate.
The first successful A-darter missile firings with SAAF Gripen were carried out in 2010.
Flightglobal notes that Brazil has not yet announced plans to operate the A-Darter on the Gripen NG, but Denel is moving forward on integration testing using a loaded Swedish air force aircraft.
Read the full story: Denel readies A-Darter for Gripen NG qualification
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