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South African Government’s armaments development and manufacturing company, Denel Dynamics, is using an aircraft-mounted testing pod to develop its missiles in a quick, cost-effective way. 

The pod has a controller, power supply, telemetry downlink and uplink receiver, radios to communicate to the aircraft, and recording systems. With the help of the pod, one can easily test things like infrared and radar seekers, optical equipment and electronic warfare systems.

The pod was first used to test A-Darter fifth-generation infrared guided missile that has been integrated onto Gripen fighters. After its successful testing, now it is also used to examine the radar sensor used by Denel Dynamics’ Marlin technology demonstrator. 

A-Darter is a fifth-generation Imaging Infrared (IIR) SRAAM air-to-air missile system. Its features include lock-on after launch, memory tracking, and countermeasures resistance with a 180-degrees look angle and 120-degrees per second track rate.

According to the Program Manager of Denel Dynamics, Jaco Botha, one of the greatest benefits of the testing pod is that it cuts down the enormous expense of having to integrate the missile (in its final configuration) onto Gripen. “We’ve skipped that whole process by going to the pod – you are on the wing of an aircraft and can evaluate in a real environment,” he said.

Read the full story here.

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Alternative power.

Multiple test flights have shown that Gripen can fly with 100 percent biofuel. This gives us valuable insights into future use of alternative fuel.

Photo: Linus Svensson​

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During a capability demonstration exercise earlier this month, SAAF Gripen fighters performed a variety of aerial displays at the De Brug range outside Bloemfontein.

The demonstration was spectacular with a mock dogfight between Hawk and Gripen combat jets. The two fighters also performed aerial displays with multiple flare releases.

 The visitors also saw Rooikat armoured cars and Olifant tanks kicking up the dust and firing their cannons. The demonstration ended with a mock battle in which Gripen fighters, Hawk, and Oryx and Rooivalk attack helicopters participated.

Read the full story here.

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The 171st fighter division of F17 recently got an opportunity to train its forces with four US Fighting falcons, reports

The exercise, in which 12 F-16s along with 300 airmen were sent by the USA to Amari Air Base in Estonia,  was a part of NATO's operation Atlantic Resolve. Swedish participation in the exercise was in line with the Finnish-Swedish FSTE concept (Finnish Swedish Training Event).

"The FSTE concept is similar to the cross-border training that is being conducted on a regular basis in northern Sweden, with the participation of Norway and Finland," said a participating F 17 pilot. 

As a part of these cross-border exercises, daily training missions were conducted over the Baltic Sea. Exercises like this are a great opportunity for new pilots to train with different fighters and develop interoperability.

Read the full story here.

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On 15 February 2018, the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) celebrated Wing 7's 36th birthday. ACM Jom Rungsawang, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Air Force, and Group Captain and Chief of the Air Force Wife Association, Koranun Rungsawang, attended the event. 

Flying displays by six Gripen fighters and three Saab 340s marked the celebrations.

In his speech, ACM Jom talked about Wing 7's successful operations, Gripen and Saab 340 AEW acquisitions, and RTAF's integrated air defence system.

RTAF declared he Gripen Integrated Air Defense System commissioned as a fully operational part of the air force at its home base, Wing 7 in 2013. At the ceremony to announce the integeration, personnel from all three military branches were in attendance, symbolising what the new system stood for: integrated defense operations.

Wing 7 operates 12 Gripen fighters. It received its first batch of six Gripen fighters in February 2011.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: RTAF

Tod Wolters, Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, met Mats Helgesson, Chief of Air Force, Sweden earlier this month. The U.S. Commander also paid a visit to the Air Combat Training School in Uppsala to be briefed about Gripen fighters and future joint exercises.

"This was a rewarding visit. We have had discussions mainly about joint exercises especially the ACE exercise which is an example of an important component of our cooperation with both NATO and the United States, "said Mats Helgesson.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​

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​The 21st Tactical Air Force Base in Čáslav will host a multinational exercise 'Sky Avenger' between 18 and 29 June this year.

The Czech Air Force has confirmed the participation of Gripen and L-159 ALCA planes from the Čáslav base. Six F-16s will also participate in the exercise.

Sky Avenger is a joint exercise based on Czech Air Force's long-term cooperation with the Air National Guards of Nebraska and Texas. 

“In addition to dogfighting and cooperation with forward air controllers, the exercise will also focus on composite air missions,” discloses Major Tomáš Merta, Deputy Director of the exercise.

Read the full story here.

RIAT2017_Gripen1.jpgThe Czech Air Force has confirmed the participation of a Gripen and an L-159 Advanced Light Combat Aircraft (ALCA) at RIAT 2018.

This time, RIAT will also celebrate the completion of a 100 years by the Royal Air Force. Last year, Captain Ivo Kardoš from the 211th Tactical Squadron at Čáslav Air base won the award for the best flying demonstration by an overseas participant at RIAT.

The first Air Tattoo was held in the year 1971 with a participation of about a hundred aircraft. Deemed as one of the world's greatest airshow now, RIAT now attracts participation from across the globe.  About 150, 000 to 160, 000 visitors attend the show every year. 

About RIAT, Formula one racing driver Jensen Button once said, "All the thrills, excitement and noise of a Grand Prix, but in the air."

The flying display will take place between 13 and 15 July 2018.

Read the full story here​.

As the South African Air Force celebrates its 98th birthday, we bring you the important milestones from the SAAF Gripen programme. ​ 

  • It all started on 15 September 1999 when South Africa announced its order for 26 Gripen fighters from Saab. With this order, South Africa became the first export customer for Gripen.

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  • South Africa's first Gripen, SA01, rolled-off the Saab assembly line in October 2005 and made its maiden flight in Sweden on 11 November 2005. 

  • Gripen's 100,000th hour was completed by a South African Gripen SA02 on 28 January 2008! Saab test pilot Mats Thorbiörnson and South African Air Force (SAAF) Colonel Mike Edwards were at the controls. 

  • On April 30th, 2008, the South African Air Force received and accepted its first new Gripen fighter aircraft opening a new chapter in its modernisation. This delivery was followed by an extensive two-year flight test programme in South Africa to integrate local avionics, defence and combat systems.

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  • SAAF Gripen pilots flew their first solo in October 2008.


  • ​On 2nd October 2009, Denel Dynamics delivered the first test version of its A-Darter 5th generation short-range imaging infrared air to air missile. The first test firing verifying the integration between the missile and the Gripen aircraft was done in July 2010.

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  • SAAF completes its Gripen fleet! Final four Gripen fighters were delivered on 21 September 2012.

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Gripen's aerial display was one of the major highlights of the Singapore Airshow 2018. Besides the aerial display, an RTAF Gripen was also there for a static display.

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