Gripen E's first test flight will be conducted during the second quarter of this year," says Jerker Ahlqvist head of Gripen programme.
During the annual Gripen seminar yesterday, Jerker explained that Saab’s new work methods with model-based-design is proving to be very successful.
“As we prepare for Gripen E’s first test flight, we see that any software corrections can be easily implemented now. We can quickly make a change and introduce a new software load to the aircraft within days. This is something that previously took weeks or even months to undergo. It gives us the confidence that we are on the right track and the programme will run as per the schedule,” he said.
Saab is building two more test aircraft which are at various stages of production. Aircraft 39-8 is currently in ground test. The second test aircraft has entered the stage of final assembly.
About Gripen M, Jerker said that it is at a conceptual stage. “We are working with Brazilian engineers on a concept study of Gripen M. We are also in the process of responding to an RFI from India. We believe that Gripen M has good potential and can hopefully turn into a full development programme at a later stage.”
Jerker presented the Gripen seminar along with Richard Smith, Head of Marketing, Gripen, who gave an overview of the position of Gripen in the market today.
"The market looks optimistic for Gripen right now, and it comes down to getting ink on paper," Richard said. Among the countries which are looking at the Gripen E are Finland, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, Colombia and India, he added.
Watch the seminar here.