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​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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Denel Dynamics has bagged a five-year production contract for the A-Darter air-to-air missile, to be integrated with SAAF Gripen C/D fighters, reports IHS Jane's.

According to the report, the missiles have been developed under SAAF’s Project Kamas which commenced in 2011. The missiles will complement the small batch of IRIS-T missiles which are already integrated with SAAF Gripen C/D.

A-Darter is a fifth-generation Imaging Infrared (IIR) SRAAM air-to-air missile system with capabilities like a lock-on after launch, memory tracking and thrust-vector control that gives it a very high angle of attack. The missile also features countermeasures resistance with a 180-degrees look angle and 120-degrees per second track rate.

Besides Gripen, A-Darter missiles will be integrated to SAAF’s Hawk Mk120 lead-in fighter trainer. Denel is also discussing a production contract with Brazil which may use A-Darter for its upgraded F-5s and Gripen E/F in future.

Read the full story here.

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Last week, South African Air Force Gripen completed the actual launch of an A-Darter missile. The missile successfully reached the target, which was an unmanned aircraft flying at a 600 meters higher altitude, reports Airheadsfly.com.

As a part of this test, the rocket was launched towards a remotely-controlled aircraft in order to test the maneuverability of the missile. The heat-guided weapon is designed to perform while sustaining up to 100Gs, with targets within a 12 miles radius. The A-Darter’s sensor-eye can spot the difference between the target aircraft’s infrared signature and flares the bogey might launch to fool the missile.

Portal Brazil quoted the project manager for Brazil, Colonel Julius Caesar Cardoso Tavares, saying that the main feature of the latest generation of missiles is their ability to perform high-performance maneuvers.

"The guidance sensor detects the target and the missile also calculates the best route," said the Colonel.

A-Darter does not have small wings that are used for maneuvering. Instead, it can direct the thrust of its rocket engine, performing maneuvers while sustaining up to 100Gs. 

The report adds that the A-Darter is now 90 percent ready. South Africa’s Denel Dynamics is the leading company of the project.

Read the full story: Future Brazilian Gripen Missile Successfully Fired In South Africa

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Čáslav in the Czech Republic will host tri-annual exercise Lion Effort, starring the Gripen C/D in all roles, in 2015. Several Gripen operators will participate in the exercise.

Lion Effort presents a great opportunity for various Gripen operators to not just train together but to also share best practices and operational know-how with each other.

The first Lion Effort exercise was held in 2009 in Hungary, while the second was held in Sweden in 2012. In 2012, four of the five Gripen operating nations participated in the exercise. Royal Thai Air Force Gripen were not present but observers from the Air Force attended the exercise.

Lion Effort consists of various planned and unplanned missions followed by brainstorming sessions during which participants raise questions and suggest ways of refining the plan. The exercise provides a platform for testing the operational deployment ability of the Gripen and training of air and ground crews in multinational operations.​

Image Coutesy: Peter Liander​

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