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Preparations are in full swing for the Swedish Armed Forces exercise Aurora this September. All Swedish air wings will participate. The big difference from last year’s exercise is that all levels within the armed forces will participate. Instead of deputed staff and units like in earlier air force exercises, actual staff manning military units will practice together. It’s a big difference and similar to the exercises for building Swedish Armed Forces’ combined capability.

During Aurora 17, the air force will take on both sea and ground targets in operations such as coastal defence where all military units have to coordinate their actions. There will be a lot of airborne action with all available flying resources during the exercise. Apart from Gripen, the exercise would see extensive deployment of air transport and helicopters to support the Army and the Navy.

To get as much as possible out of the exercise and to test Swedish defence capability against a larger opponent, foreign air force units, including those from Finland, will engage as opposing forces as well as be partners in the defence of Sweden. Apart from the Finnish Air Force, units from other countries are expected to participate.

Read the full story here.

Photo Courtesy: Swedish Armed Forces

Since the unveiling of Gripen E in May 2016, the programme has seen great progress. Validation and verification activities such as tests in rigs and simulators have been performed and the ground test period is in full swing. The way model based development has been implemented, has been successful. "Power on" and engine starts are just two examples of important milestones that has been accomplished during the last months.

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With Gripen E, Saab has taken all the knowledge and experience from more than 75 years of building aircraft and put it into a fighter designed to adapt to changing threats and operational requirements, such as bigger areas to defend and new threat scenarios.

Gripen E has a revolutionary avionics system which ensures that the future is built in from the beginning. The avionics system separates flight critical functions from tactical features allowing customers to update the system and so get the latest capabilities faster and at lower risk. Future upgrades, changes and functionalities can be made by adding “apps” without needing to requalify the entire system.

Read the full story here​.

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Seen by many as a series of giant leaps in innovation the story of flight is, in fact, one of fantastic evolution. More than anyone the Gripen team at Saab know this. It is evolutionary thinking that has kept the Gripen system more than one step ahead.

Most military aircraft are built with the present and future in mind. Fighters are ordinarily commissioned decades in advance of completion. These needs are usually defined by military planners. The planners draw on as much intelligence and strategic thinking as possible to make the right decisions for what are massive multi-billion dollar projects. During the cold war many nations considered the military of the highest economic priority. Matters of defence were given huge budgets. When it came to air forces there were some with seemingly bottomless pockets.

Swedish prudence and the birth of Gripen

Sweden was one country that did not believe in blank cheques when it came to its military. The Swedish Air Force was to be no exception. 

In 1980 a requirement was issued to Swedish manufacturers for a new multi-role aircraft. The bar was set high. Excellent performance, agility and speed were all necessary to combat the threats at that time. However, the high-level Swedish strategists did not only put in a request for a new fighter. They pushed for a new way of thinking. They had decided it would be costly and difficult to adapt many of the aircraft on the market. They realised that the fundamental requirements ...

Capt Peter Fällén from the Swedish Air Force performed his award winning flying display at the Farnborough International Airshow. The weeklong Airshow is being held in the UK.​

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The future is always uncertain. So the pilots of the future need an aircraft that can be easily upgraded to meet ever-changing requirements.

“Computers, processors and electronics are continuously developing and it’s important that you can upgrade these as new tech emerges in the market,” says Saab’s Wing Commander Flying and Gripen test pilot Hans Einerth.

Right from the beginning, Gripen E was developed with future progress in mind. By managing to isolate systems affecting the core flight abilities, the plane’s split avionics system allows for integration of off-the-shelf products.

“The future pilot will need the ability to continuously upgrade the hardware and software and not get stuck in old functionality; this is of increasing importance,” explains Einerth.

Read the full story here​.

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During the last few weeks, SwAF Gripen pilots were busy at the Tactics, Techniques and Procedures Exercise (TTP16). TTP is a recurrent exercise, but this time it was different as the participating Gripen fighters were upgraded with the MS20.

The MS20 upgraded Gripen are integrated with the MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile and Boeing GBU-39 Small-Diameter Bomb, improved radar modes and a new laser designation pod (LDP) among other things.

TTP is also known as pilot's own exercise because there are no order chains; the pilots have to make their own decisions. The exercise focuses on developing skills to fight in a war, giving pilots an opportunity to work on small details that can make big differences in real life scenarios.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten

TV4 News' Stefan Borg learns how to fly a Gripen with Saab test pilot Marcus Wandt.

Three cameras were rolling, one in the rear cockpit, one on Marcus' wrist and one with photographer Felix Larno in an SK60, tailing the Gripen fighter.

"All you have to do is make sure we stay on our wings. Take the controls now. Roll a bit side to side. That's it," Marcus says.

About Gripen, Marcus says that the fighter is designed to be versatile. It can be the only plane in a given mission. As compared to Gripen, planes which are built for specific purpose and later expanded with other capabilities, are technically capable but not very efficient at carrying out multiple tasks.

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The Swedish Air Force Gripen has been upgraded with MS 20.

As a part of this upgrade, one of the major additions is that of MBDA’s Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile. The missile's propulsion is managed by a ramjet engine.

"The ramjet engine provides a significant increase in range. It makes it harder for an enemy to protect themselves from Meteor as compared to missiles operated with conventional propelled rocket [engines]," said Michael Östergren, Project Manager for the version 20 upgrade at FMV.

According to the Swedish Air Force Chief Maj Gen Mats Helgesson, the Meteor’s addition is a game-changer.

Besides the Meteor, GCA, Ground Collision Avoidance System is another important feature of MS 20. GCA will help avoid a collision with the ground in case the pilot loses control.

Also, with the new upgrade, there is an enhanced chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) protection for the pilot. The new protection not only safeguards pilots in contaminated environments during a mission, but also helps the ground crew to effectively decontaminate the aircraft once it has landed.​

Read the full story here.

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The Next Generation Gripen, or Gripen E, is the successor to today’s proven Gripen C/D, and is an aircraft that is both evolutionary and revolutionary. Evolutionary because the E is based on today’s in-service Gripen, the multi-role fighter ordered by five air forces worldwide. 

With about 250,000 flight hours behind it, Gripen has an indisputable track record for low operational costs and total life cycle costs that feeds directly into Gripen E.

At the same time, Gripen E is a revolutionary fighter because it combines advanced technology and operational effectiveness in an affordable package that no other fighter aircraft can hope to match.

Gripen E takes the tried and tested elements of the Gripen design, and improves on these. The new aircraft has a more powerful General Electric F414G engine with the ability to supercruise. Its redesigned airframe operates at higher weights, allowing more fuel and weapons to be carried. A unique avionics architecture makes weapons and systems integration even easier and quicker. The Gripen E operates with a fully-networked, fully-fused sensor and communications systems that gives it cutting edge capabilities for any mission, from close air support (CAS) to beyond visual range air-to-air combat.

Among the key missions systems that make Gripen E such a formidable future fighter is its all-new ES-05 Raven AESA (active electronically scanned antenna) radar.

The aircraft is equipped with a electronic warfare system that gives the it a unique active and passive electronic attack (EA) capability – which adds the AESA to the vital EA mission. ...

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Earlier this month, Gripen pilots of the Czech and the Swedish Air Forces went through an air-to-air refuelling training.

The training was held at the F17 Air Wing in south Sweden. For the younger pilots, it was their first air-to-air refuelling experience, but for the more experienced ones, it was an exercise to maintain their skills.

Czech Gripen pilots first came to Sweden to train for air-to-air refuelling in 2011-2012. At that time, Major Jaroslav Tomaňa and Captain Petr Dřevecký of 21 Tactical Air Base in Čáslav became the first pilots in the history of the Czech Air Force to perform air-to-air refuelling.

Air-to-air refuelling capability is important as it enables aircraft to be quickly deployed for missions far from their service distance. The Czech Republic is a NATO member and air-to-air refuelling capability will facilitate joint exercises within the framework of NATO operations.

The Czech Air Force had sent three Gripen fighters and 16 personnel which included four Gripen pilots for this training.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​

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Welcome to the official Gripen blog by Saab. This site features information and commentary about the Gripen fighter jet.
 
The Gripen Blog shares stories and discussions on the Gripen aircraft. The Blog does not vouch for the authenticity of the reports from other publications that have been quoted.
 
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