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Saab has received a support contract for the South African Gripen weapon system. The order has a total value of SEK 206 million (ZAR 314 million) over the period November 2017 to February 2020. The South African Air Force has been operating the Gripen fighter system since 2008 when the first Gripen was delivered.

The support contract, signed between Saab and Armscor, enables Saab to deliver efficient support in a sustainable manner with a long-term horizon. Through the contract, Saab will deliver support related services like airworthiness management, engineering support, maintenance, repair, and overhaul, spares replenishment and updates of technical publications.

Read the full story here.

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A Gripen fly-past commemorated 30 years of South African Air Force Base, AFB Makhado's service last week. The fly-past was followed by an aerial display.

AFB Makhado is the SAAF fighter base where the country’s Gripen fighters, BAE Systems, and Hawk fighter trainers are stationed. AFB Makhado, which was opened on 14 October 1987, houses 2 Squadron, one of the most prestigious units in the SAAF. 

AFB Makhado received its first Gripen in March 2008.

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The fight against rhinoceros poaching in South Africa is all set to get a fresh impetus. South African Air Force Gripen fighters will be deployed to track poachers in the country, particularly along the Zimbabwe border. 

The primary surveillance tool for SAAF Gripen will be the Litening III targeting pod designed by Israeli defence company Rafael. The unit has a sensor turret fitted with day- and night-vision cameras, as well as a combination laser range finder and target designator. The pods significantly increase the combat effectiveness of the aircraft during day, night and under-the-weather conditions in the attack of ground and air targets. It can be mounted externally on an aircraft, and provides good quality target imagery for further analysis. 

SAAF Gripen, which use the domestically produced data link, Link ZA, can connect with command centres on ground to share information, and even with groups of wildlife rangers. 

Lieutenant Colonel Josias Mashaba, Head of the SAAF’s 2 Squadron, said that it is important to take preventive action before the rhinos go extinct. "They are smart, those guys, they are not stupid, but we find them," says Mashaba about poachers. In 2015 and 2016, more than 1,000 rhinos were killed by poachers and illegal hunters in the country.

Read more here.

​Catch Gripen in action as it performed a stunning aerial display at the annual SAAF Museum air show at AFB Zwartkop last month. The airshow was held on 06 May. More than 30,000 visitors attended the event.

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The South African Air Force (SAAF) held a demonstration on 1st June to assess its combat readiness. At the event, SAAF showcased its air power capability through use of  its most modern acquisitions such as Gripen and Hawk aircraft.

During the demonstration, simulation of various combat scenarios with live ammunition was carried out. The demonstration also included joint exercises with air and ground units, and aerial displays by BK-117 Helicopters, A109, Oryx and Gripen fighter jets.

Besides aerial displays, Gripen fighters and Hawks also flew bomb damage assessment and engaged in a mock dogfight. In total, six Gripen fighters participated.

Read the full story here​.

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South African Air Force Gripen fighters have been confirmed to participate in the annual SAAF Museum air show at AFB Zwartkop next month.

The annual air show, which will be held at Air Force Base Swartkop, is expected to be attended by more than 35,000 visitors. Besides Gripen, Oryx and A109 helicopters, Casa 212 transport, and BAE Hawk combat aircraft are also scheduled to participate in both static and aerial displays during the air show.

Gripen's performances include flyovers and demonstration of air strikes with Hawk jets and Rooivalk attack helicopters.

SAAF Museum Air Show will be held on 6th May 2017.

Read the full story here.

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The SAAF's Lieutenant Colonel Musa Mbhokota, who has clocked over 2000 flying hours on eight different aircraft types, including Gripen, is all set to become Officer Commanding AFB Overberg.

Mbhokota was one of first six SAAF pilots who went to Sweden to understand the Gripen fighter system when South Africa placed the Gripen C/D order in the nineties. He was also the first black pilot to assume command of 2 Squadron, which operates the SAAF’s Gripen fighters. He first flew Gripen in the year 2002 in Sweden.

Mbhokota will assume his first base command later this month.

Read the full story here​.

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South African company Pretoria Metal Pressings (PMP) will locally manufacture cannon ammunition for the SAAF Gripen, reports Defence Web​.

Phaladi Petje, CEO of PMP says that the design and development on Gripen ammunition production is being finalized with Armscor and the South African Air Force (SAAF). Petje adds that PMP intends to work closely with Saab and gun manufacturer Mauser on ammunition.

Currently, the ammunition is made in Germany by automotive parts supplier Rheinmetall. According to the Defence Web report, a single 27 mm Mauser BK-27 cannon with 120 rounds of ammunition is added to a single seat Gripen. Ammunition available includes high explosive, armour piercing, armour piercing high explosive, semi armour piercing high explosive, and target practice.

PMP is a Denel Group company that specializes in small- and medium-calibre ammunition, brass products, detonics, power cartridges and mining drill-bits.

Read the full story here.

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The South African Air Force’s (SAAF) Air Capability Demonstration (ACD) was held at the Roodewal weapons range, Limpopo province on the 10thof September. The Roodewal range, according to SAAF officials, is one of the few places in the world where live weapons can be safely fired seven minutes after takeoff.

The ACD, an annual program, is a rare opportunity to observe close range live aircraft firing and to test the SAAF’s capabilities. The exercise keeps the South African National Defense Forces (SANDF) ready for emergencies and focuses on collaboration and inter-operability among all branches of the SANDF.

The demonstration consisted of recon missions by the Gripen, also featuring its capabilities of evading anti-air defenses, simulated dog fights, cargo drops by the C-130 Hercules, tactical surveillance and insertion of ground forces. Deputy Chief of the SAAF, Major General Gerald Malinga said that the ACD was a chance for the senior command and staff course members to see air power at the strategic and operational levels of war and showcase how air power is applied.

The demonstration concluded with a flyby including all the participating aircraft with remarkable flare releases by the Gripen and C-130.

Read more for a detailed account of the demonstration.

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Two South African Air Force Gripen performed at an SA naval exercise called Ex Good Hope VI last month, reports Navy.mil.za.

In one of the multi-threat exercises aimed at building defence against air and subsurface threats, a Gripen bomber aircraft and a Lear Jet played a crucial role. The warfare department used sensors to detect the aircraft miles away and once the target was locked on, it was decided what type of weapon would be used. In this scenario, an FSG HESSEN and an SAS SPIOENKOP were hit by a missile from the Gripen fighter aircraft, prompting the ships to conduct blanket searches and damage control. 

The objective of Ex Good Hope VI included training and promoting naval skills and maintaining full operational readiness of the SA Navy. 

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy:SA Navy​

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