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From top-of-the-class in the United States to test pilot at Saab: Marcus Wandt is one of the chosen few whose job it is to get Gripen E ready for its maiden flight.

The engineer, fighter pilot and former airborne ranger has been employed full time as a test pilot at Saab for a couple of years. Right now, a lot of the work involves getting Gripen E flight-ready.

“It’s my job to observe and analyse how the aircraft operates,” he says. “There’s a high degree of engineering thinking involved. When a fighter pilot finds that ‘it’s difficult to aim’, it’s the responsibility of the test pilot to go one step further and find out how many degrees the nose is swinging.”

Wandt has, over a period of one and a half years at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS), flown a number of different types of aircraft – everything from gliders and 50-year-old taildraggers to seaplanes and modern fighter aircraft.

“It’s incredibly stimulating to go along on that journey,” he says. “I’ve never previously experienced the same subtle communication between a fighter aircraft and pilot. When I sit in the aircraft, I feel enormous respect for the engineers behind the system. Everyone who has toiled on their small part of the project is involved.”

Read the full story here.​

"We are pushing two generations ahead. Gripen has a strong market position, and development of the new 'E' variant is progressing in line with time and budget estimates," says Ulf Nilsson, Saab's head of aeronautics at Saab's annual Gripen seminar. For Sweden's order of 60 planes, a first test aircraft will soon be ready. Saab's incremental platform development methods result in shorter lead times to customers, he says.

As per the latest update at the Seminar, the Brazil programme is at full speed ahead. 50 Brazilian engineers who have arrived in Linkoping are now an integrated part of the Gripen program.

Ulf also talked about why Saab believes in true technology transfer. “Why do we want to share our technology? While our competitors see technology sharing as a risk, we see it as an opportunity. This is the way to grow forward and gain new partners. To achieve sustainability in the transfer of technology program, we have to build technology around the program. It’s a strategic decision for Saab and Sweden,” he says.

Unveiled during the Gripen Annual Seminar, this video shows some behind-the-scene highlights from the first next generation Gripen test aircraft in production. 

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“The partnership with Saab will be more than Gripen. It would be a natural step to jointly develop a new product, a successor to the Gripen,” said Jackson Schneider, president and CEO, Embraer.

“We will inaugurate our plant in August-September. It will be our base for cooperation with Saab, and that's where we will adapt the Gripen aircraft for our Air Force’s needs and develop the two-seater version of Gripen NG,” he added.

According to Schneider, Gripen is the perfect plane for Latin America. 

Schneider said that the Gripen programme is important for Brazil because it is an important step in boosting an already large aerospace and defence industry.

“But it is still Saab in Sweden that will deliver most of the Gripen NG fighters and by 2019, both the Swedish and the Brazilian Air Force will get their first Swedish-built Gripen E,” he maintains.

Read the full story here.

​What do we need to build a perfect fighter? And would that fighter stay perfect for tomorrow as well?

At the Farnborough International Airshow 2016, Saab test pilot Marcus Wandt tells how Gripen is the perfect fighter, today and tomorrow.​

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Join Saab test pilot Jakob Högberg for a walkaround of Gripen E. Högberg will be in the UK next week at the Farnborough International Airshow. Watch him explain the Gripen E features in a video here​.

​From the new powerful F414G engine to a completely new sensor suite, Gripen E has an array of new features. The additional internal fuel tanks mean the fighter will have an increased range and ability to remain in air for longer. The IRST system ensures early target detection, giving Gripen E situational awareness without emitting its own radar energy.

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The new Gripen E will make its maiden flight later this year. Though thanks to simulators, it has already been flying a lot in the virtual world. 

To ensure that the simulators replicate actual onboard systems, the same software and tools used for developing the aircraft are deployed. The process called “design once” makes certain that the simulated aircraft systems are performing in the same fashion as those on the aircraft.

Saab test pilot Jonas Jakobsson says that they are focussing on the system design at the moment. "We have started to practice a lot of tactical scenarios, and are looking at different systems and human-machine interfaces," he says.

According to Saab, testing in simulators reduces the number of actual test flights by about two thirds. Because of the model-based design and advanced simulators, pilots can perform a series of tests in the computer environment before the actual flights.

Read the full story here.

​Besides the training and hands-on, the Brazilian engineers are also learning to speak Swedish. Take a look at their experiences in Sweden as they understand Saab's system and processes.​

The technology transfer between Saab and our partner companies is an important and impressive project within the Brazilian acquisition of 36 Gripen fighters. The web series True Collaborations shows how it works in reality. ​

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"With Gripen, you need to forget everything you know about flying," Saab test pilot Marcus Wandt told visiting Brazilian journalist Fernando De Martini from Poder Aereo Blog team when he visited the Gripen hangar.

Fernando had heard this before. Five years back, when he was preparing for a Gripen flight using a simulator, he was told the same thing. "With its fly-by-wire control systems, I realised how easy it was to fly Gripen,” Fernando says in his blog.

The advantage of the fly-by-wire system is that one can use only paddles instead of joystick for curves. “This frees your hand to handle the various screens in the cockpit while the aircraft continues to be operated with your feet,” says Marcus Wandt.

Wandt also spoke of the ease with which one can land a Gripen. The final phase of landing is almost automatic, he says, with the pilot only required to control the angle of descent and speed and keep an eye on the HUD.

The Brazilian Press got to see the 39-7 demonstrator and the latest Gripen test aircraft and were briefed by Saab test pilots Marcus Wandt and Hans Einerth

Read the full story here.

​Gripen E was presented to the world on 18 May 2016. This is the first of the three test aircraft which will support the Gripen E programme. Attended by more than 500 guests, the Gripen Evolution event also included an aerial display by a Gripen C and a static display of a SwAF Gripen upgraded to the MS20 configuration.​ Here are some images from the roll out.

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For more images and videos, visit Saab.

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Welcome to the official Gripen blog by Saab. This site features information and commentary about the Gripen fighter jet.
 
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