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Czech Republic Air Force Gripen will participate in Ample Strike 2014, a NATO aviation training exercise to be held next month in the country, reports Prague Post.

The report quoted Magdaléna Dvořáková, from the general staff press department saying, “A joint training of allied troops is the goal of the exercise. Pilots and soldiers will train the guidance to the ground targets when supporting ground operations.”

According to the report, Ample Strike 2014 would be the biggest international exercise to be held this year in Czech Republic.

“The flights will take place daily between nine in the morning and eleven in the evening, mainly in the military areas of Náměšť, Libava, Boletice and Bechyne,” Commanding Officer Miroslav Svoboda said.

Ample Strike 2014 will be held between September 3 and September 15. Participants include Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and the Netherlands.

Read the full story: NATO air force training slated for Czech Republic

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In the first week of August, the Czech Air Force flew an exclusive mission to photograph the 21st Tactical Air Force aircraft, reports the Czech Army website.

According to the report, several months’ preparation came to an end on 6 August when the one and a half hour photographic flight was conducted. 

L-39ZA Albatros light combat aircraft took off from the Čáslav airbase and shortly the CASA C-295M transport aircraft from the Kbely airbase took off with well known and respected aviation photographers on board. Two subsonic ground attack L-159 aircraft and three supersonic fighters LAS -39 Gripen followed.

Within a minute, the CASA aircraft reached the required three kilometers flight level and set the heading. Three aircraft types from 21 Tactical Airbase followed it and formed an air to air formation with the transport aircraft.

The formation was changed after ten minutes. The formation was flying below the photographer level. The photographers took pictures from the side windows of the CASA aircraft.

At the end, the photographic mission was judged as a very successful mission by the participants.

Read the full story: Podívejte se na nové fotografie letounů české armády​

Image Courtesy: Czech Republic Army website​ 

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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.

Image Courtesy: Department of Defence, Australia​​

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 ...

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“It felt like I was in one of the world’s most modern fighters, perhaps the most modern. I have absolutely no doubt that Brazil has made the right choice. It is impressive how much information the pilot has at his fingertips. It feels like you are at the spearhead, fully equipped to defend your country”, says FAB pilot Major Renato Leal Leite who recently flew the Swedish fighter aircraft.

According to a news report in Globo.com, Major Leite is the first Brazilian pilot to fly the Gripen since Brazil’s announcement that Saab was chosen to provide fighter aircraft to meet the FX2 requirement. Major Leite took the test flight in June this year when a FAB delegation visited the Makhado air base in South Africa.

“Gripen comes with a range of sensors and radar and infrared equipment, which serve as the pilot’s eyes. I can easily see what is going on outside, and identify things. The old planes did not have this capability. The pilot had to make an effort to understand what was going on outside”, he says.

Major Leite was also impressed with the electronic display suite in the cockpit and the air-to-air data link which allows real-time exchange of tactical data within and between cooperating air units.

“Gripen provides clear data in real time. It tells me if there is a friendly or enemy aircraft out there. If I make a mistake, it understands my intention and corrects the error. When you are in a fighter, ...

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.​

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Gallium Nitride (GaN), probably the most important semiconductor material since silicon, will be used by Saab on the Gripen E aircraft, reports Defense News.

Gallium Nitride has long been seen as a powerful alternative to gallium arsenide which is currently popular for making modules for AESA radars.

The cost of Gallium Nitride has been a deterrent in its use in ground radars. However, with the demonstration of successful prototyping of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) technologies by US firms like Raytheon, things are changing.

“The substance will be used in jammers and passive warning systems, boosting efficiency by 25 percent,” said Ulf Nilsson, the head of the Gripen program.

In addition to enabling future 360 sensor coverage, GaN technologies will also increase the defended area and decrease the time to detect, discriminate and engage threats.

According to Lennart Sindahl, Saab’s deputy CEO, Saab is now ahead of the curve on GaN.

“Our worst competitor said ‘you are now six years ahead of us,’” Sindahl said.

Read the full story: Gallium Nitride Gets Fighter Debut With Saab​

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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