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South African Air Force Gripen pilots participated in a camp recently to test their air-to-air gunning skills, reports Defence Web​.

An annual training event for SAAF, the camp was held at the Overberg Air Force Base. Six South African Air Force Gripen and five Hawks flew for almost 140 hours during this event. The participating pilots focused on firing, navigation, battle formations and general flying skills. The area between Arniston and Infanta was used as the firing range.

According to Major Unathi Makoba, the approach controller for the camp, such air-to-air camps should be held twice a year.

“This would not only boost the morale and confidence of pilots, air traffic controllers, mission controllers and technicians but would also require them to work to ensure the necessary flying hours were available for any mission,” he says.

Read the full story here​.

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Aviation enthusiasts in Brazil were in for a pleasant surprise when they spotted a full scale Gripen model at a mall in North Lake, Brasilia recently.

FAB personnel at the mall briefed visitors on the aircraft.  Visitors were able to check out the cockpit while Project Manager for FX2, Colonel Julius Caesar Cardoso Tavares, answered their queries. 

"The interesting thing about this full scale replica is that it has the exact Wide Area Display that will be in the aircraft. This gives a real sense of what the pilot will see on the display while flying the aircraft. That apart, one can see the weapons, including A-Darter missile that will be integrated with Gripen NG,” Colonel Cardoso Tavares says. 

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Fab.mil

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As a part of Saab's industrial cooperation commitment to Brazil, Atech Negocios em Tecnologia has been selected to provide simulators, training systems and ground support systems for Gripen NG. The announcement of the partnership between Saab and Atech was made on 26 April.

Earlier this year, seven Atech engineers underwent initial training at Saab facilities in Linköping as part of the Gripen technology transfer programme.  

“Saab and Atech have entered into a partnership regarding the development simulators, training systems and ground support systems for Gripen NG. We will provide technology transfer within these areas to Atech and we now welcome the first team of Atech engineers for training in developing the Gripen system”, says Mikael Franzén, Programme Director for Gripen Brazil at Saab.

“Atech is proud to participate together with Saab in the Gripen NG programme. Atech has a strong history in supporting the Brazilian Air Force in technology transfer programmes. Our participation represents a consolidation of Atech expertise in areas such as Mission Planning and Simulation Systems. We are ready to join forces with Saab, working as an integrated team, to support the Brazilian Air Force on its long-term needs”, says Edson Carlos Mallaco, President and CEO of Atech.

Read the full story here​.

"We are pushing two generations ahead. Gripen has a strong market position, and development of the new 'E' variant is progressing in line with time and budget estimates," says Ulf Nilsson, Saab's head of aeronautics at Saab's annual Gripen seminar. For Sweden's order of 60 planes, a first test aircraft will soon be ready. Saab's incremental platform development methods result in shorter lead times to customers, he says.

As per the latest update at the Seminar, the Brazil programme is at full speed ahead. 50 Brazilian engineers who have arrived in Linkoping are now an integrated part of the Gripen program.

Ulf also talked about why Saab believes in true technology transfer. “Why do we want to share our technology? While our competitors see technology sharing as a risk, we see it as an opportunity. This is the way to grow forward and gain new partners. To achieve sustainability in the transfer of technology program, we have to build technology around the program. It’s a strategic decision for Saab and Sweden,” he says.

Unveiled during the Gripen Annual Seminar, this video shows some behind-the-scene highlights from the first next generation Gripen test aircraft in production. 

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During the air display which concluded the ceremony, the Hungarian Gripen fighters formed the number ten in the sky above Kecskemét airbase.

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Taxing to the runway.GRIPEN10years_79.jpg The flight line with ready to go Gripen fighters.

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This is the Gripen model that was handed over to the base commander.

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The audience listens to the presentation on the first ten years with Gripen in the Hungarian Air Force.

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The ceremony included a hand-over to the Hungarian Air Force by the Swedish Air Force support group. 

This year marks ten years of Gripen in the Hungarian Air Force. To celebrate this milestone, a ‘Gripen decade’ ceremony was held in March this year at Szentgyörgyi Dezső Airbase in Kecskemét. Representatives of the Hungarian Government, the Hungarian and Swedish Armed Forces and Saab were present at the ceremony.

In 2001, the Swedish and Hungarian governments entered into a lease-purchase agreement, with a further modification in 2003, which included 14 Gripen C/D (12 single-seat plus two twin-seat) aircraft. All Gripen fighters were delivered in 2006 and 2007 and, by the end of 2008, the 14 aircraft were in operational service with the Hungarian Air Force. In January 2012, the leasing agreement with Sweden was extended until 2026. 

With Gripen, the Hungarian Air Force has established itself as a modern and effective NATO Air Force. Last year, the Hungarian Air Force had sent four Gripen fighters and about 80 personnel to guard the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The four months long Baltic Air Policing mission ...

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“The partnership with Saab will be more than Gripen. It would be a natural step to jointly develop a new product, a successor to the Gripen,” said Jackson Schneider, president and CEO, Embraer.

“We will inaugurate our plant in August-September. It will be our base for cooperation with Saab, and that's where we will adapt the Gripen aircraft for our Air Force’s needs and develop the two-seater version of Gripen NG,” he added.

According to Schneider, Gripen is the perfect plane for Latin America. 

Schneider said that the Gripen programme is important for Brazil because it is an important step in boosting an already large aerospace and defence industry.

“But it is still Saab in Sweden that will deliver most of the Gripen NG fighters and by 2019, both the Swedish and the Brazilian Air Force will get their first Swedish-built Gripen E,” he maintains.

Read the full story here.

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Swedish Air Force Gripen has now been integrated with the MBDA Meteor air-to-air missile (AAM), reports UPI.

“After extensive testing by FMV and the Gripen Operational Test and Evaluation unit, all of the new MS20 functions including the Meteor missile are now fully integrated with Gripen. The Swedish Air Force is now in its Initial Operational Capability phase with the Meteor. The Meteor missile is currently the most lethal radar-guided missile in operational service, and the Swedish Air Force is the only operational user so far. I am very proud and satisfied to have the Meteor in the inventory of my air force” said Major General Mats Helgesson, Chief-of-Staff of the Swedish Air Forces.

This missile can shoot down airborne threats launched from a distance of more than 100km. Its unique solid-fuel throttleable ducted rocket, also known as a ramjet, allows the missile to maintain very high speed all the way to the target, giving increased stand-off and disengagement ranges and greater ability to chase and destroy highly agile moving targets.

As per Saab, BVRAAM’s unrivalled no-escape-zone (three times greater than any current BVR missile) will dominate the future air-to-air battlespace, giving a decisive capability to Gripen and its pilots.

The missile has been jointly developed by Sweden, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Great Britain.

"Combined with the IRIS-T heat-seeking missile, we have the best air-to-air weaponry you can find in the world," said Major General Helgesson.

Read the full story here.

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For its next Iceland mission, Czech Gripen fighters would be armed with AMRAAM (air-to-air) missiles. It will be the first time when Czech Air Force pilots would get an opportunity to train with AMRAAM outside the country.

“For pilots, this will be a new experience and opportunity to train outside the Czech territory," says Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnický.

The participating contingent includes 70 personnel and four Gripen fighters. Most of these personnel are the ones who have not participated in the Iceland mission in 2014 and 2015. Currently, these 70 men and women are undergoing training e.g. SERE (survival, evasion, resistance and extraction) training. The first group will leave for Iceland in September.

"Air Policing mission type is among the main tasks of the Army of the Czech Republic in the framework of our activities in this year's foreign operations. We strive to expand the range of deployability of our Air Force," said Chief of General Staff, Czech Armed Forces, Joseph Bečvář.

Meanwhile in Sweden, the Swedish Air Force and FMV successfully integrated the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM missile last week. The integration was a part of the MS20 upgrade which delivers a host of new capability options for air-to-air, air-to-surface and ISTAR missions plus many improved mission systems and other changes.

Read the full story here​.

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In the 11 years in service, Czech Air Force Gripen have clocked in over 21,300 flight hours. 

"We have operated the fleet without serious defects or even air accidents. Common technical defects related to the planes' operation are comparable with those appearing in the other types of planes," says David Kudrna, Chief Engineer of the Military Air Base in Caslav.

In the last 11 years, the country has used Gripen in the most versatile manner. The Czech Gripen fighters have been successfully deployed in four NATO missions - airspace protection of Baltic countries and Iceland. The aircraft are also sent to participate in exercises like Lion Effort, NEW FIP and Ramstein Guard NATO.

The Czech Gripen fighters will soon get an upgrade which includes ground attack capabilities, and an improved CBRN system that allows Gripen to stay operational and effective in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack.

The Czech Republic first signed a contract for leasing Gripen C/D fighters in 2004. The contract was renewed again in 2014 as per which the Czech Air Force will use Gripen fighters until 2027.

One of the main reasons why Gripen was selected by the Czech Republic is that it was fully NATO compatible and interoperable. The aircraft supported all NATO priorities for standardization of doctrines and procedures, including NATO standard datalink communications plus an air-to-air refueling system.

Read the full story here.

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