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​To fly in the Icelandic weather conditions, there are some preparations that have to be done. Here, Capt. Martin Špaček, a Czech Air Force Gripen pilot, describes how the daily life as pilot during the air policing mission in Iceland could look like.

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The video shows how Czech Gripen fighters perform their Quick Reaction Alert duties within the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System.

For many years now, NATO has been deploying Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) assets, provided by its member nations, for intercepts in places like Iceland and Baltic States which don’t have their own air forces.

During the recent participation in the Icelandic Air Policing, Czech Gripen fighters were slated to take up Quick Reaction Alert duties for initial certification process.  The Czech Air Force has been part of the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS) since 1999. This year was the first time when the Czech Air Force executed a twofold Quick Reaction Alert (Intercept) mission – one at home and one in Iceland.​

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Mikael Damberg, the Swedish Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, was in India last week to discuss the Gripen offer, reports DN.se.

Mikael Damberg, Saab's Chairman, Marcus Wallenberg and Saab President and CEO, Håkan Buskhe, along with a delegation of Swedish business leaders called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss long term business and partnership opportunities for Swedish manufacturers.

Saab and a few other fighter aircraft manufacturers had received a Request for Information (RFI) from India three weeks ago. India wants an offer in which the production of the aircraft would take place under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' programme.

“We support Saab's interests because we have good experience of the Gripen fighter system. Saab also has a unique and exciting strategic partnership with Brazil which lets us have a much wider cooperation with the country,” says Mikael Damberg.

“PM Modi called for deeper cooperation with Sweden and Swedish companies and also wanted to see closer defence policy cooperation,” he adds.

Read the full story here.

​During the Icelandic air policing mission, the Czech Air Force got an opportunity to train together with NATO Naval Forces in the waters outside Iceland.  

Three Gripen fighters joined in an exercise, in which Languedoc, a French frigate, Thetis, a Danish patrolling frigate, and Thor, the Icelandic coast guard's modern vessel, participated along with several helicopters. The exercise took place some 80 km southwest of the Icelandic coast and the main task of the Czech pilots was to simulate an attack on the Languedoc frigate, a state-of-the-art vessel the French Navy acquired this spring. 

The vessel is equipped with anti-aircraft missiles, and the Czech JAS-39 Gripen aircraft had to check the readiness of the ship’s crew. For the Czech pilots, the exercise was an opportunity to train for flying on low altitudes above the sea. 

"For Gripen, the lowest flight limit is 30 meters above the sea. However, since we do not fly at low altitude so often, we chose a safer variant of the minimal flight altitude of 100 meters," one of the participating pilots, Tomáš Merta, said. 

The Czech Air Force Iceland air policing mission ended last week and the pilots had logged a total of 166 flight hours.

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A month long Icelandic air policing mission by the four Czech Gripen fighters has come to an end. The Czech fighters will next be deployed for the Baltic Air Policing, according to the Czech General Staff General Josef Becvar.

Towards the end of the mission, General Josef Becvar and other officials visited the Keflavik Air Base in Iceland to meet the participating personnel.

"You have proven that the Czech Republic is certainly capable of ensuring the readiness of the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System both at home and in Iceland," General Becvar said addressing the soldiers.

As a part of this mission, Czech Gripen pilots performed their QRA duties in Iceland - they had to take off within 15 minutes of receiving an order. This was the first time that the Czech Gripen fighters were equipped with the AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile).

Read the full story here.

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At the Indo Defence 2016, Saab announced that it is all set to transfer technologies to Indonesia and work together with local farms for aircraft production should the country select the Gripen fighter.

According to an IHS Jane's news report, Indonesia is looking for urgent delivery and Saab has said it can deliver the first aircraft after 12 months of contract signature. 

Saab's offer includes 14 aircraft plus all support, technology transfer and training for air and ground crew. Saab is already working with its strategic partner in Indonesia, PT Pindad, to enhance and develop the national air defence system there.

"We will be fully compliant with Law No. 16/2012 (on the defense industry) as required by the government,” says Saab’s Jerker Ahlqvist, Head of Gripen.

The Indonesian law requires all major weapons systems to be procured domestically. If a foreign supplier is chosen, they have to work along with local companies.

Indonesia is looking forward to replacing US-made F-5 E/F Tiger II light jet fighter and has allocated funding for the new fighter in its 2015-2019 five-year spending plan.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Stefan Kalm



Flight data, track data and night vision.

The Swedish Air Force have ordered  the advanced helmet mounted display system, Targo for their Gripen E fighter aircraft. Pilots equipped with Targo will be able to better locate, track and identify targets, both day and nighttime.

Read more about the Helmet Mounted Display systemhere​.
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​Gripen simulator was the centre of attraction for visitors at the Indo Defence 2016 which was held between 2 and 5 November in Jakarta. Take a look at the pictures.

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Guests experience the Gripen simulator

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Chief of Indonesian Air Force, Agus Supriatna, meets Head of Saab Indonesia, Peter Carlqvist at the Saab stand at Indo Defence 2016

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Saab stand at Indo Defence 2016

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Czech Air Force Gripen pilots logged over 100 flight hours during the first 26 days of their Icelandic mission, reports Afbcaslav.cz.

The Czech contingent monitored airborne objects, practised low-flight manoeuvres over the sea, and carried out joint exercises with the allied naval forces.

In all, 75 men and women and five Gripen fighters were sent for this mission. For most personnel, it was their first deployment in Iceland and hence their first experience of the challenging weather. 

"For such missions you have to don neoprene protective clothing for emergency situations over sea,” said Major Tomas Merta, one of the pilots. "Strong winds are also special here in Iceland. Sometimes we experience side winds of up to 50 km per hour; if these winds are too strong the jets have to stay on the ground. It is safety first at all times. So far we have not been asked to scramble our jets for an actual emergency situation. However, we conducted 91 training flights logging almost 115 hours, which provided the crew invaluable flying experience.”

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Czech Air Force

Hungarian pilots of MH 59 Szentgyörgyi Dezső Airbase took part in a 10-day Gripen night flying training exercise.  

The exercise, which was conducted between 18 and 28 October, was part of the Hungarian Puma squadron's annual training plan. On 25 October, a Press Open Day was held in which the participating Hungarian pilots presented 15 flight displays, including a two-to-one capture, one-to-one air battle, two aircraft formation flights and night flying displays.

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The goal of an exercise like this is to increase the combat readiness of the Hungarian Air Force and prepare Gripen pilots for international missions. The pilots get to train using the night time vision goggles and hone their skills for missions at all hours and in all weather conditions.

Photo Courtesy: Istvan “TopiDoc” Toperczer​

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