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Despite extreme weather in Iceland earlier this month, Czech Gripen fighters were successfully certified to start their air policing mission in the country. 

Here is how the evaluation system works.

The certification flights take place under the supervision of a committee of senior commanders of the Joint Multi-national Operations Center of the Air Force of NATO (CAOC - Combined Air Operations Center). To get certified, the Czech Gripen fighters had to execute a scramble as a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) to protect Icelandic airspace.

Since the certification required operating under real mission-like scenarios, the Gripen fighters were scrambled to intercept another participating aircraft acting as an intruder. Through the process, committee members monitored every step taken by the Czech contingent under a challenging situation and assessed all operational details.

The preparation for the certification flights and the mission itself started months ago at the Czech home base at Caslav. 

"I am proud of my team’s performance,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jaroslav Toman, Commander of the Czech detachment. "This certification means that we have refreshed and increased our skills and proficiency of implementing peacetime air policing procedures in this very special and challenging environment.”

The Czech fighters have been deployed for protecting the Icelandic airspace until November. According to an earlier Czech Defence news report, this is the first time the Czech Gripens have been equipped with AIM-120 AMRAAM medium range air-to-air missiles for a foreign mission.

Lieutenant Colonel Toman said that the Czech decided to go for these weapons as ...

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Six Swedish Air Force Gripen fighters participated in the Finnish Air Force's Ruska 2016 exercise last week.

This was the first time that Swedish Air Force Gripen fighters were sent to participate in this exercise. Besides the fighters, Sweden had sent transport and command & control aircraft as well. Along with the Finnish Hornets and Hawks, the Swedish team played Red Air, i.e. opponents to the Finnish exercise units. 

Ruska is the biggest annual tactical training event of the Finnish Air Force. One of the main goals of the exercise is to train service units on how to work with other kinds of aircraft and for major operations.

The battle concepts executed in this exercise were all about deployment. The Finnish and Swedish assets were redeployed in every mission so that the attacker had difficulty anticipating the teams' moves and strategies. 

The exercise was held between October 10 and 14.

Read the full story here.

Photo Courtesy: Peter Liander​

​While on a visit to South Africa, Defence Minister of Sweden, Peter Hultqvist met his South African counterpart Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula at Pretoria, reports SABC News.

South Africa is Gripen's first export customer. It was also the first nation to order HMD (Helmet Mounted Display) for its Gripen fleet (17 Gripen Cs and nine Gripen Ds).

"I am sure you are aware of the fact that we have procured one of the strategic defence packages from Sweden. Our fighter aircrafts are from there and we are proud to say that South Africa is the only country in the African continent which has such capability," Mapisa-Nqakula said.

Hultqvist emphasized that selling or leasing aircraft to other countries is more than business. "This is one of Swedish national security interest: when we sell or lease aircrafts to other countries, it's something more than a business - it’s about security and a long term relationship," he said.

Read the full story here.

At the recently concluded ADAS 2016, in Manila, Philippines, Gripen campaign director Magnus Hagman spoke about how Gripen is a very strong contender for the Philippine Multi-Role Fighter programme.

“We see Gripen as one of the most important assets for an air force, a true multi-role fighter that can work in a real network centric environment, sharing data with various other aircraft and also incorporating that into a C4I system,” Hagman said.

For an archipelagic country like Philippines that has more than 7,000 islands, Gripen, with its STOL (short take-off and landing) capabilities, would be an ideal solution, he added.

Recently, Saab also announced that it will open an office in Manila by end of the year to support its Gripen campaign in the country. Talking to IHS Jane’s​, Carl-Eric Leek, who will head this office, said that Saab’s offer would include a package of support systems, similar to what was delivered to the Royal Thai Air Force (12 Gripen C/D aircraft).

The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) is exhibiting a full scale Gripen NG replica at Ribeirao Preto shopping centre, in São Paulo between 4 and 15 October. The organisers expect a large number of daily visitors to the shopping center.

Visitors can sit in the cockpit to get an experience of the future fighter of their nation.  

In an unique effort, visitors wanting to try out the Gripen simulator would have to donate for a charity.

According to the exhibition curators, this display should encourage children to learn about their country's armed forces and join the the military in future. 

Read the full story here.

Five Czech Air Force Gripen fighter jets have now started air-policing missions over Iceland. The air policing will continue over the next several weeks. 

As per a report in Airforce Technology, the Czech fighters are equipped with AIM-120 AMRAAM medium range air-to-air missiles as well as short-range AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles.

"This deployment is not just another practical example of the Czech participation in the Alliance's common effort, but also a great opportunity to expand the experience and skills of our pilots,” said Chief of Staff Army General Joseph Becvár.

The Iceland mission will end on 10 November 2016.


Saab has long-term plans for design, production and in-service support, if India selects Gripen for the IAF, says The Hindu.

Saab has offered to sell its latest fighter, Gripen NG, to India. The defence company had announced earlier this year that the Gripen NG offer will be under the “Make in India” initiative. The package includes transfer of technology with an aim to maximize India content, extending industrial network and creating a suppliers system.

“Saab is here to team up with India and will be there for the next 100 years. This is not just about setting up an aircraft industry but also about true transfer of technology and sharing of trade secrets,” said Mats Palmberg, Vice President, Industrial Partnerships, Saab Aeronautics.

The work done in India on Gripen has the potential to support Gripen programmes globally, the report says.

 ​Read the full story here​.

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Ramstein Alloy Baltic training, previously known as the Baltic Regional Training Event (BRTE), was held last week. Two SwAF Gripen fighters participated in the event.

The training scenarios were aimed at enhancing policing procedures and Allied-Partner relationships using NATO’s Baltic Air Policing (BAP) assets and regional air forces. It included air-to-air intercept and search and rescue and communication loss (COMMLOSS) training.

The planning for the exercise took place over a period of a few months during which the participating air forces worked on the training scenarios and met for coordination meetings.

‘It is amazing how we carry hunt and attack exercises as a part of a NATO exercise on one day and the second day we come home and show some incident preparedness. That shows the flexibility and readiness of our Gripen fighter system’, a report in Forsvarsmakten says.

Read the full story here​.

According to Slovakia’s Defence Minister Peter Gajdos, Slovakia may decide to buy Gripen instead of leasing it from Saab,reports Reuters. The government has been in talks with Saab regarding the lease of Gripen jets to replace Slovakia’s aging Russian Mig-29 fighters.

Slovakia is expected to sign a Joint Sky agreement with Czech Republic this year, which includes bilateral cooperation between the two countries to safeguard their skies. The final shape of the agreement would decide Slovakia’s choice of aircraft to secure its defence. Czech Republic at present flies a fleet of leased Gripen.

Czech Republic and Slovakia are both NATO members, and the Joint Sky deal will enable the two to share the cost of maintenance and pilot training. Areport by Prague Monitorquotes Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky who has said that if Slovakia decides to lease Gripen, its pilots could use the specialised training centre in the Czech Republic.


The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) showcased the Gripen NG at the 4th Mostra IDB Brazil, the Brazilian Defence Industrial exhibition where over 80 organizations participated. The FAB booth displayed a full-size replica of the Gripen NG which is being developed by Saab with the participation of six Brazilian companies, reports Cavok. Currently, 90 Brazilian engineers are in Sweden under the technology transfer program. Of the 36 aircraft ordered by the Air Force, 15 would be made in Brazil. In addition to the Gripen model, visitors could view information on touchscreens and 3D displays.

According to Major Marco Antonio Aidar Riberio, “The armed forces are working for Brazil to stop being a mere buyer and to become a developer of technology, leveraging (the strengths of) the domestic industry. This technology is not restricted to defence products, but spills over to other sectors. It is committed to the development of the country.”

According to Colonel Julio Cesar Cardoso Tavares, F-X2 project manager, the importance of participation in the IDB Brazil is to show the Brazilian society how public resources are being invested. Also, says the report, he sees the projects under development at FAB as being a two-way street, on the one hand promoting the equipping of the Air Force and, on the other, enabling transfer of knowledge. “The technology transfer under the Gripen NG project will enable Brazil, in the future, to develop its own supersonic fighter,” says Colonel Tavares.

Read full story here.​ 

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