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The Swedish Air Force Gripen has been upgraded with MS 20.

As a part of this upgrade, one of the major additions is that of MBDA’s Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile. The missile's propulsion is managed by a ramjet engine.

"The ramjet engine provides a significant increase in range. It makes it harder for an enemy to protect themselves from Meteor as compared to missiles operated with conventional propelled rocket [engines]," said Michael Östergren, Project Manager for the version 20 upgrade at FMV.

According to the Swedish Air Force Chief Maj Gen Mats Helgesson, the Meteor’s addition is a game-changer.

Besides the Meteor, GCA, Ground Collision Avoidance System is another important feature of MS 20. GCA will help avoid a collision with the ground in case the pilot loses control.

Also, with the new upgrade, there is an enhanced chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) protection for the pilot. The new protection not only safeguards pilots in contaminated environments during a mission, but also helps the ground crew to effectively decontaminate the aircraft once it has landed.​

Read the full story here.

​Thirty Czech personnel and four Czech Gripen fighters were sent to participate in the NATO Tiger Meet 2016, one of the biggest exercises of its kind in Europe. 

The Exercise brings together units from all over the world that have a tiger or other big cat in their logos or emblems. This year, there was a record participation of 83 aircraft from 23 squadrons from 15 countries. The Exercise had many pre-planned tasks which included an air to air refuelling of Gripen fighters with a KC-135 tanker.

Here are some snapshots from the exercise that ends today.

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Image Courtesy: 211 Sqn

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With the unveiling of Gripen E, Saab is looking at its fighter export targets with a fresh enthusiasm. "I think we have a very good opportunity in India. We can make an attractive offer that would suit the Make in India concept," Saab aeronautics head Ulf Nilsson said in an interview recently.

If chosen, Saab is ready to develop, manufacture and undertake the final assembly of its Gripen fighter jet in India. It has already offered to set up a base in the country and co-operate in the development of aerospace capability for the next 100 years.

Though Saab's formal offer to India was along the lines of its Gripen deal with Brazil, the exact Gripen configuration has not yet been announced. "Gripen E is a specific configuration of Gripen NG that has been chosen by the Swedish customer. The exact configuration for another customer such as India will depend on discussions with that customer. But yes, we are offering the next generation Gripen to India, under 'Make In India' with transfer of technology," Jan Widerstrom, Country Head and Chairman, Saab India, said.

Besides Gripen, Saab has participated in other defence programmes as well. It has successfully completed trials of two of its programmes in India -VSHORAD (very short-range air defence) and SRSAM (short range surface-to-air missile).

Read the full story here.

​Royal Thai Air Force welcomes five new combat ready pilots. Two of these pilots will fly Gripen while the other three will fly the Saab 340. This month, these proud graduates were awarded their diplomas in a ceremony at Wing 7.  

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Image Courtesy: RTAF

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Ample Strike 2016, a NATO aviation training exercise, will be held between 30 August and 20 September. Czech Gripen and L-159 ALCA fighters will participate from their home base in Caslav.  

Hosted by the Czech Republic, the multinational exercise focuses on honing the skills of Forward Air Controllers (FACs) in coordinating and directing actions of combat aircraft in support of ground operations. The Exercise consists of several pre-planned scenarios which are conducted at different locations. 

The Name Ample Strike is inspired by similar international FAC exercises conducted in Slovenia and Canada under the names "Adriatic Strike" and "Maple Strike", respectively.  

This year, 17 nations including the United States, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Great Britain, and Germany will participate in the event.

Read the full story here.

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Saab has offered the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Gripen on lease for its requirements. At the recently held Defence Services Asia (DSA) exhibition, Thomas Linden, Head of Saab Malaysia, said "Our basic offer is a lease solution using examples where we have leased the Gripen to the Czech Republic and Hungary. The lease solution for Malaysia would work very similar to a purchase. There is no limit in the operation, you can use any weapons or systems, and we will build a local support solution here in Malaysia with our local partners. This programme is fully endorsed by the Swedish government.” 

Saab has offered to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) 16 Gripen C/D multirole fighters for its multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) programme

Malaysia is looking to replace its ageing fleet of the Russian MiG-29N ‘Fulcrum-A’ fighters ever since it was originally scheduled for a late 2010 retirement. The Gripen lease programme allows Malaysia to procure the aircraft at a relatively affordable price. 

Linden further added, “When we lease the aircraft, we will guarantee flight hours. So we will say that if you lease this aircraft from us you will get 'X hundred' flight hours per aircraft per year. And if we can't deliver that, it's on us. What we are pricing in the lease are the capital costs that we have with the aircraft and also the support and related solutions.”

Saab has a considerable presence in the Malaysian defence sector. The Malaysian army is using the ...

​Swedish Air Force pilot Philip Von Platen shares his experience of flying Gripen against aircraft like the F-16 and F-18.

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Earlier this month, Gripen pilots of the Czech and the Swedish Air Forces went through an air-to-air refuelling training.

The training was held at the F17 Air Wing in south Sweden. For the younger pilots, it was their first air-to-air refuelling experience, but for the more experienced ones, it was an exercise to maintain their skills.

Czech Gripen pilots first came to Sweden to train for air-to-air refuelling in 2011-2012. At that time, Major Jaroslav Tomaňa and Captain Petr Dřevecký of 21 Tactical Air Base in Čáslav became the first pilots in the history of the Czech Air Force to perform air-to-air refuelling.

Air-to-air refuelling capability is important as it enables aircraft to be quickly deployed for missions far from their service distance. The Czech Republic is a NATO member and air-to-air refuelling capability will facilitate joint exercises within the framework of NATO operations.

The Czech Air Force had sent three Gripen fighters and 16 personnel which included four Gripen pilots for this training.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​

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Saab has offered transfer of technology to local industry in Indonesia if the country selects Gripen. Saab said it was committed to transfer technological know-how if Indonesia chose Gripen. Saab is offering, along with Gripen, a complete air defence system. This includes Erieye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) for maritime surveillance and control, tactical data link for sharing data across platforms and ground based command and control. 

“We are absolutely prepared to work with the local industry... so we can support the end-user and work with the local defense industry in the country,” Dan-Ake Enstedt, Head of Saab Asia Pacific, said in an interview to Jakarta Globe. Saab believes that a lot of jobs can be created through strong industrial cooperation that includes transfer of technology and local production. “For us, it is important to build competence with the local people in the country. We are creating a lot of jobs with our concept, and this is something our competitor does not do. Those are a few things that make our proposal unique," Enstedt said.

"I think we have a unique strategy. We don't work with 'black boxes,' we really walk the talk," said Enstedt, adding that Saab was ready to partner with local aircraft manufacturer Dirgantara Indonesia.

Under Indonesian law, at least a 30 per cent direct offset is mandatory. Saab has a proven track record of successful industrial cooperation programmes, Brazil being the latest example.

According to Enstedt, Saab's winning advantage is a guaranteed delivery time of ...

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Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnický recently visited the Gripen manufacturing unit at Linköping during a two-day visit.

Stropnický and his delegates met Sweden's Minister of Defence, Peter Hultqvist, who talked about the threat of Russian military reconnaissance flights over the Baltic Sea, which could threaten and endanger civilian air traffic.

With the Czech Air Force leasing 14 Swedish Gripen fighters for the last 12 years, both countries are important partners in the field of defence cooperation. Currently, the Czech Republic is also negotiating to acquire Swedish 3D MADR (Mobile Air Defence Radar).

"Cooperation between our two air forces is of primary importance and sits very high on our agenda, considering we both use Gripen aircraft," Stropnický said.

When the Czech delegation visited the Gripen plant at Linköping, they were shown the latest upgrades for Gripen C/D fighters along with other systems. These upgrades have been designed keeping in mind the changing warfare scenarios around the world.

In December last year, the Swedish Defence and Security Export Agency (FXM) signed a contract worth SEK 120 million to upgrade the Czech Gripen fighters. The contract, which includes weapons pylons, software, and training, would enhance Czech Gripen's ground attack capabilities.  

Read the full story here.

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