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Saab will intensify its flight trials once it has the two new Gripen E prototypes ready, reports Jane's. The ever evolving aircraft is now set to get two new prototypes, according to Saab’s head of Aeronautics, Jonas Hjelm.

Last year, the first prototype of the Gripen, dubbed 39-8, was revealed. That is soon to be followed up by the 39-9 and 39-10. Both these prototypes have already left the production line at Linkoping, and are currently undergoing verification ahead of their first flights, which is scheduled for 2019.

Jonas Hjelm outlined the necessity for the new prototypes – the 39-9 will be a testbed for the tactical systems, whereas the 39-10 is being designed to be the first production-standard airframe. “The avionics in 39-9 and 39-10 are almost completely different from 39-8, and this shows that our development concept for the aircraft works,” said Hjelm. Incidentally, the 39-7, which was the Gripen demonstrator, is continuing to serve as a test platform throughout the flight trials.

Read full story here.

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Magnus Lewis-Olsson, President at Saab Market Area Europe, chatted at length with Vago Muradian of Defense & Aerospace Report about Gripen E flight tests, weapon integration and technology sharing at the recently held Farnborough International Airshow.

Lewis-Olsson revealed that flight testing for Gripen E is on schedule, and Saab is pushing hard to meet its timelines. Prototype aircraft JAS 39-9 and 39-10 are expected to see the light of day early next year, and with every test the aircraft is getting closer to the operational aircraft. The focus during testing in near future will be on avionics and cockpit.

One of the key elements of the Gripen E is the open architecture of the aircraft – which allows Saab to compartmentalize the flight safety control systems in a bid to increase efficiency. This process is helpful not only because it increases mission safety, but it also extends more control to the users of the aircraft, helping them ‘own’ it as per their requirements. 

Talking about weapon integration, Magnus Lewis-Olsson also outlined the huge impact that the missile Meteor has had on the functionality and prowess of Gripen. The RBS-15 – ‘Gungnir’ was yet another projectile weapon on display, a pioneer of the anti-ship missile contingent. The Gripen on display was loaded to full capacity, with different weapons, to showcase the fighter’s excellent weapons integration capability.

Watch the full interview here​.

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Saab has recently received an order from Sweden’s Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) for modifications of the existing capabilities in the MS20 upgrade to SwAF Gripen fighters. The order that is valued at SEK 224 million concerns with the upgrade of the Gripen C/D system. 

The improvements will be made on the current MS20-configuration that was rolled out in 2016. It was a revolutionary upgrade that made Gripen the world’s first and only combat aircraft to be operational with the MBDA Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile system. 

The upgrades for this order specifies improvements to the aircraft’s ‘central capabilities’ which will include target acquisition, self-protection, communication and human-machine interaction, as well as a number of key support and training systems.

The MS20 is fundamentally a software upgrade that consists of a host of features – everything from a weapons system to a communication and maintenance system. The most significant ones, besides Meteor BVRAAM, were the integration of  Boeing GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) and the expansion of Gripen’s ISTAR capabilities. Apart from that, the initial upgrade also included the expansion of NATO-compatible data link system Link 16, a communication upgrade called Digital CAS (Close Air Support) and other major and minor enhancements. 

The work for the current updates will take place at Saab's facilities in Gothenburg, Järfälla, Linköping and Arboga, and will be delivered between 2018 and 2020. 

Read full story here

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Home from home

On the way back from Aero India, Gripen landed at the island of Crete. It was a sought-after stop for the pilots and the snow almost made them feel at home.

Photo: Henrik Paju

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A flare for excellence

With our totally integrated Electronic Warfare system, Gripen is able to penetrate and survive hostile environments. That’s just one reason we call it the smart fighter.

Photo: Ramon Wenink

​What is it like to fly faster than  sound? Listen to one of our test pilots as he describes breaking the sound barrier in Gripen E.​

The Swedish Air Force Gripen pilots are working on honing some old skills by practicing Gripen take-offs and landings from normal roads. The skill helps to spread the fighters on multiple locations in the event of an attack.

Gripen is a fighter which was developed keeping in mind the Cold War philosophy, which means it doesn't always need a runway to land and take-off. It can land and take-off on short, actual roads as well. Sweden has military bases that use normal roads that have been strengthened for practicing such exercises.  

According to Flight Attorney General, Brigadier General Gabor Nagy, such exercises are very important. "If a potential opponent attacks our regular flight bases and limits our take-off and landing opportunities, we should be ready with our strategy. So we have developed a concept to increase the areas of operations beyond the regular air bases. What has begun here today is an extension of this strategy, where we will measure road sections so that we can land fighter aircraft with relatively simple means," he says.

Read the full story here.

​What makes Saab the best possible option to be the wingman for India's defence industry? CNBC-TV18 in its special series ‘Make in India: A New Deal for Defence’ explores Saab and Sweden’s plans in India.

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He got a flying license before a driver's license. SwAF display pilot Henrik Björling talks about his preparations for Sweden's Flying Day on 26 August.

Henrik, 36, has flown for over half of life. Among the many aircraft he has flown in the last 18 years, Gripen is his favourite. 

"It is one of the most modern aircraft in the world. It is an aircraft built for the pilot to perform at the highest level," he says.

When asked about his preparations for Sweden's flying Day performance, he says, “The exercise will happen this month. Like any other sport, I exercise daily so that I am all ready to play my role in the display. Just an hour before my flight, I stop talking and start with my mental preparation. I review the entire program visually. I check the weather – if it is sunny, windy and so on. And then I get on the plane and just do it!”

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​


Amongst various other exercises, Swedish Air Force pilots also trained for air-to-air refuelling at the recently held ACE17.​

Video: Försvarsmakten​
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