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GE Aviation will deliver the first flight test F414-400 for a single-engine application for the Gripen E to Saab later this year, reports Aviation Week.

GE vice president and general manager of its Aviation’s military systems, Jean Lydon-Rodgers confirmed the delivery schedule last week, adding that the production of the F414-400 engine will begin in 2017.

We will have 90 engines on order by the end of this summer for Gripen fighters for Sweden and Brazil,” he says. “And we expect that to increase as the Swedish order grows.”

The F414 fighter engine offers 35 percent more thrust and significant improvements in aircraft performance, survivability and payload as compared to its predecessor F404. The engine not only gives Gripen supercruise but also plays an important role in reducing the fighter’s life cycle cost.

The engine boasts of features like Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC) that improve its operational characteristics. The F414 fan also provides 16 percent more airflow than the F404 fan with improved bird strike and foreign object damage resistance features. 

Read the full story here

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Once Gripen NG is delivered to Brazil, it will be the first aircraft in the Southern Hemisphere to have the ability to undertake a "supercruise flight", reports Defesanet.

The report says that usually fighter aircraft fly above the speed of sound only during a combat mission. Gripen, however, can fly at a supersonic speed not just during aerial battles, but also during long duration flights; range of 4,000 kilometers.

Gripen is also designed to have net centric warfare capabilities. The high-end sensor suite and strong focus on data links ensure quick sharing of information between tactical unit members.

According to Captain Gustavo Pascoto, one of the first two FAB pilots who have been trained to fly the Swedish fighter, Gripen NG is a big leap from the aircraft currently in use by the Brazilian Air Force.   

"Gripen NG is a combination of high performance, supersonic acceleration and the capability to fly at high altitudes," he says.

Read the full story:Gripen NG poderá realizar supercruzeiro​ 

A full scale model of Gripen NG was on public display at an exhibition at the Ministries Esplanade in Brazil until 14 June, reports Aereo.jor.br.

The full scale model is made of fiberglass, wood and metal. The panel can be connected to view some of the multi-tasking capabilities of the new generation aircraft. As per a report in Aereo.jor.br​, there are 14 tons of equipment in total and the model takes two days to get assembled.  

"It is a puzzle where all the pieces have a very specific place. If the sequence is not correct, nothing will fit, "says engineer Divaldo Soares.

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"We have brought enough material focusing on the operational part and we really hope to employ the aircraft at its full capacity," says Captain Ramón Fórneas, one of the first two FAB pilots who have been trained to fly Gripen.

Captain Gustavo de Oliveira Pascatto, São Bernardo do Campo (SC), and Captain Ramon Santos Fórneas Lincoln, Ipatinga (MG) were in Sweden between November 2014 and April 2015, during which they learnt all about the Gripen system.

Both FAB pilots had to attend various lectures and practice for hours on Gripen simulator. They flew several missions, both with and without instructors. Their goal was to master the Gripen system and pass on the know-how to their fellow FAB pilots.

Captain Pascatto says that the experience gained from their shifts at the island of Gotland, in the extreme east of Sweden, near the Baltic Sea, was very crucial.

"It is an extreme strategic area for the country. In Gotland, we had the opportunity to conduct supersonic interception mission over the Baltic Sea. It was an immense learning opportunity for us,” he says.

Read the full story: Pilotos da FAB compartilham experiência de voar o Gripen​

Image Courtesy: Fab.mil

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The fact that Gripen is built to be serviced by just a handful of soldiers in the field makes it extremely service-friendly. Together with very long MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) levels, this means easy maintenance and high availability.

Click here to download the calendar.

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"Gripen meets Brazil’s demands," says Brigadier Jose Crepaldi Affonso, FAB.

In an interview with Defesanet, Crepaldi, who was the president of the Coordinating Committee of Combat Aircraft Program (COPAC), said that the signing of the FX2 deal took place after ten months of intense contract negotiations.

About the number of single and double-seater aircraft that FAB may order in future, Crepaldi says, “The number of units required in the next two batches has yet not been decided. A two-seater Gripen can do much more than conversion training. We have had discussions with the South African Air Force (SAAF) as they also operate Gripen two-seater and use C2 function. So, having more two-seater Gripen is a possibility.

When asked if Gripen was an ideal choice for a huge nation like Brazil, Crepaldi says that they had two Brazilian teams appointed for the assessment of the competing fighters. The fighters had to start from a Brazilian Air Force Base for a specific task and then return. The aircraft completed the task without any refueling. So it is incorrect to say that the Gripen has less range. It is an entirely new aircraft with a new engine and it does not consume fuel at the rate of a twin-engine fighter.

 “Brazilian Air Force is preparing to receive Gripen NG,” Crepaldi says.

Read the full interview: Entrevista com o Brigadeiro Jose Crepaldi – FAB se prepara para receber o Gripen

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“We are well on our way to present the best fighter there is,” says Saab deputy chief executive Lennart Sindahl of the new model, which has already secured firm orders from Sweden and Brazil for a combined 96 units.

As per a report in Flightglobal, the important elements of Gripen NG like the new F414G engine, the repositioned main landing gear and the Selex ES Raven ES-05 active electronically scanned array radar, are already being tested in flight. Till date, Gripen NG test aircraft has flown 315 sorties (about 281hours). Systems like a new air data computer, wingtip-mounted radar warning receivers are being tested using Gripen C/D test assets.

“We are collecting data, so we can put it in our models for the simulators and know how the sensors perform,” says Hans Einerth, wing commander flying at Linköping. “The work we are doing now will define the human-machine interface for 2019.” 

After the success in Brazil, Saab is offering potential deals that include Gripen NG as well as Gripen C/D with enhancement options, to various countries. The report says that Saab’s existing customers like Hungary and Czech Republic have expressed an interest in increasing their Gripen fleet. A lease deal with Slovakia may happen as well, though the Slovak Government has not confirmed anything yet.

Ahlqvist believes that Gripen NG could potentially meet the future requirements of Austria, Belgium and Portugal. Last month, Saab presented information about its Gripen offer to Finland as well.

Ahlqvist notes that the ...

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"Before Brazil, Gripen was an aircraft looking for a market. Now it is a market looking for Gripen. And we can see that in many ways — it has really changed with Brazil. It is more global. It has changed the way we communicate," says Ulf Nilsson, head of Saab aeronautics, at a recent Press Tour.

According to a Defense News report, the FX2 programme reached a new level after Saab’s announcement of jointly producing most of Gripen NG parts in Brazil with the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer under a technology transfer agreement.

Mr. Nilsson mentions that Saab’s order backlog is at an all-time high. Starting this year, Saab will also offer the MS20 upgrade to Gripen C/D operators, which includes capabilities like MBDA Meteor air-to-air missile.

"The addition of Meteor air-to-air capability makes Gripen the most formidable counter-air platform in service," says Jerker Ahlqvist, Saab Gripen's vice president for business area aeronautics. The missile will become operational with Swedish Air Force Gripens in 2016.

Last month, Saab came up with MK4, a technologically advanced version of the renowned PS-05/A radar which gives Gripen C/D an improved performance and operating range.

Saab is also developing the naval version of Gripen NG: Sea Gripen. 

"Sea Gripen is part of the technology transfer agreement with Brazil," Nilsson said, and a study will be done. "We're in early discussions for Sea Gripen, but we'll have to see where it goes. It will probably be about 2025 before the Brazilians decide what to do."

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Saab has sent a full scale model of Gripen NG to Santa Cruz Air Force Base in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to participate in the celebration of 70 years of the Fighter Aviation Day.​

The Gripen NG model will be scheduled to be on display at future military events in Brazil where general public can get a glimpse of the future FAB fighter.

According to the Chief of Staff of the General Command of Air Operations (COMGAR), Lieutenant General Air Luiz Fernando de Aguiar, the model has been provided for a temporary period by Saab.

"For the military, getting to know the Gripen model is a form of motivation for the progression of our Air Force and for the population, it is a way to learn more about the work that the FAB does," Lieutenant General said in a report in Aereo.jor.br.

Read the full story: FAB recebe maquete em tamanho real do caça Gripen NG​

Image Courtesy: Sgt Rezende/Força Aérea Brasileira​

Alexander Galante of Aereo.jor.br explores the Gripen NG cockpit at the recently held LAAD 2015 Defense Exhibition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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The cockpit for Gripen NG, being developed for the Brazilian Air Force, has a Wide Area Display. The Gripen model at LAAD 2015 shows three large displays, which is based on the current Gripen C/D’s design. 

“Taking into account that is a mock-up, the cockpit looked comfortable and the WAD display should really make a difference when you have a lot of information and you need to select the most important in short time and decide what do,’ writes Galante.

Image Courtesy: Aereo.jor.br
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