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During the cold war, Sweden felt threatened by the Warsaw Pact countries. The country needed an aircraft that could outperform and outmanoeuvre a larger force of advanced fighters.

The north of Sweden is an unforgiving land with long, freezing winters and largely unpopulated areas. It presents a harsh environment to operate an aircraft – yet it was this place that gave birth to Gripen.

Defending these vast areas required a fighter that could perform air-to-air, air-to-surface and reconnaissance missions in a single sortie, without the need to return to base for reconfiguration.

Gripen was also designed to use roads as temporary runways, allowing the Air Force to use logistical flexibility and speed to keep an invading force at bay. Easy maintenance and reconfiguration was also vital, as it would need to be performed by Swedish conscripts with only 10 weeks’ training – usually outdoors in freezing, isolated conditions.

Read the full story here​.

​At LIMA 2017, an RTAF Gripen Fighter performed aerial displays for the audience. Here are a few images chronicling the performance.

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Getting ready for the flight
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Engineers getting the aircraft ready for the display
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The Malaysian Defence Minister with the RTAF Gripen display team

Photo credit: Richard Cooper @COAPPhoto​

​Here are some pictures from the ongoing Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) 2017.

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A visitor flies Gripen in Virtual Reality
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Chief of Air Force, Sri Lanka at the Saab stand
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1st Admiral Zulkarnain, MMEA Northern Region, and Dato’ Rahman, Deputy Director General MMEA, at the Saab stand
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RTAF Gripen preparing for display rehearsal

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It is 10:25 in the morning at Čáslav air base and the sunrays are only just beginning to stream through the morning fog. There is no wind, all one can hear is the whistling sound of two Gripen fighters leaving their hangar. Soon, the whistle turns into a roar as the fighters ascend towards the sky. This is how a typical morning at the air base looks like.

The Czech Republic has been using Gripen system for over ten years to protect its airspace. The country also uses the fighters for NATO missions in countries like Iceland.

"The fighters are on constant standby to identify, escort, and if necessary, fight invasion of Czech airspace. Additionally, they also provide support to civil aviation, including escorting and providing guided landing of civilian aircraft, in case of technical failure or bad weather conditions,” says Jan Ducha, Ground Personnel commanding officer of the Czech Air Force.

Recounting his experience at this year's NATO Tiger Meet exercise in Saragosa, Spain, Jan says that Gripen is very easy to use and requires less staff as compared to other similar aircraft. Other countries participating with other aircraft systems brought up to 25 people per aircraft. To fly a Gripen, one needs only one pilot, one engineer and a mechanic (per aircraft), Jan adds. 

"What use is an aircraft of, if it is in a hangar, waiting for spare parts or if you need so much staff to attend to it that you cannot afford to fly ...

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Saab is in the process of responding to an Indian Navy request for information (RFI) with Gripen Maritime that is it has been developing with UK and Brazilian engineers, reports Jane's.

Speaking at the Gripen Annual Seminar in Stockholm, Jerker Ahlqvist, head of the Gripen programme, said that Saab was confident about the potential of Gripen Maritime and hopefully it would become a full development programme.

The Gripen Maritime, is currently in its concept stage. According to Saab, there will be 95% commonality with Gripen E and F, which means Gripen M will share their exceptional lifetime system affordability. “We are still in the phase of concept studies at the moment, and we are evaluating the market needs. We have used UK engineers with Harrier experience in the past, and now we have Brazilian engineers working on the project,” Jerker said.

Another report in DefenseUpdate.in, says that the Indian Navy plans to procure 57 fighters for a net worth of about US $12 billion and the selection of the aircraft would depend on what kind of launch system will be used aboard the new carrier which is currently under construction.

Gripen Maritime will have a strengthened undercarriage, bigger brakes, and a beefed-up tail hook along with advanced data link and extensive electronic warfare self-protection suite that can be configured to meet specific user requirements. Gripen Maritime is intended for both CATOBAR as well as STOBAR operations. "Gripen is designed for narrow roads, and so would be perfect ...

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Saab has offered new fully NATO-interoperable Gripen C/D fighter aircraft to Bulgaria, reports Reuters.

"Sweden has submitted a highly competitive offer for new fully NATO-interoperable Gripen C/D fighter aircraft," Saab says. "A new fleet of Gripen aircraft can be delivered to the Bulgarian Air Force within a short time of contract signature."

Besides Sweden, Bulgaria has received offers from Italy and Portugal as well. According to Reuters sources, a working group will examine these offers by the end of the month, after which further negotiations will be conducted with the preferred bidder.

Bulgaria is looking to replace its ageing fleet of Russian Mikoyan MiG-29 ‘Fulcrums’ and Sukhoi Su-25 ‘Frogfoots’. The Bulgarian government approved the acquisition of a squadron of new multirole fighter aircraft a year ago. The replacements are expected to arrive between 2018 and 2020.

Read the full story here.

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​Major General Mats Helgesson talks about the meteor missile integration to the Swedish Air Force Gripen and why it is an important capability. ​​


​​​​Last week, Swedish Air Force conducted mobile readiness exercise on a public road in the south western part of Sweden. Guests, from both Sweden and outside the country were invited to watch the exercise.

Video Courtesy: Swedish Air Force

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Next week, Saab will participate at the Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA), the largest show of its kind within the Asia Pacific region.

Saab will be present with chalets at both the Aerospace and Maritime sites at the event, where visitors can learn about its key products and solutions.

LIMA 2017 will be held between 21 and 25 March. An RTAF Gripen has been scheduled to perform aerial displays on the first four days of the event. 

Besides Gripen, Saab products on display include GlobalEye, Swordfish MPA, A26 Submarine, Sea Wasp and 9LV CS. 

To know more about Saab's participation at the event and to know Gripen display schedule, visit here​.

Richard Smith, Head of Marketing, Gripen, summarises the recently held annual Gripen seminar.

During the seminar, Richard and Jerker Ahlqvist head of Gripen programme, talk about the current status of the Gripen E programme, the model based technology behind Gripen E development, Gripen C/D MS20 upgarade, Gripen M, and the opportunities in the global market.

Watch the seminar here​.​

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