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South African Air Force Gripen fighters have been confirmed to participate in the annual SAAF Museum air show at AFB Zwartkop next month.

The annual air show, which will be held at Air Force Base Swartkop, is expected to be attended by more than 35,000 visitors. Besides Gripen, Oryx and A109 helicopters, Casa 212 transport, and BAE Hawk combat aircraft are also scheduled to participate in both static and aerial displays during the air show.

Gripen's performances include flyovers and demonstration of air strikes with Hawk jets and Rooivalk attack helicopters.

SAAF Museum Air Show will be held on 6th May 2017.

Read the full story here.

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The SAAF's Lieutenant Colonel Musa Mbhokota, who has clocked over 2000 flying hours on eight different aircraft types, including Gripen, is all set to become Officer Commanding AFB Overberg.

Mbhokota was one of first six SAAF pilots who went to Sweden to understand the Gripen fighter system when South Africa placed the Gripen C/D order in the nineties. He was also the first black pilot to assume command of 2 Squadron, which operates the SAAF’s Gripen fighters. He first flew Gripen in the year 2002 in Sweden.

Mbhokota will assume his first base command later this month.

Read the full story here​.

​While on a visit to South Africa, Defence Minister of Sweden, Peter Hultqvist met his South African counterpart Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula at Pretoria, reports SABC News.

South Africa is Gripen's first export customer. It was also the first nation to order HMD (Helmet Mounted Display) for its Gripen fleet (17 Gripen Cs and nine Gripen Ds).

"I am sure you are aware of the fact that we have procured one of the strategic defence packages from Sweden. Our fighter aircrafts are from there and we are proud to say that South Africa is the only country in the African continent which has such capability," Mapisa-Nqakula said.

Hultqvist emphasized that selling or leasing aircraft to other countries is more than business. "This is one of Swedish national security interest: when we sell or lease aircrafts to other countries, it's something more than a business - it’s about security and a long term relationship," he said.

Read the full story here.

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Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD 2016), one of the world's premier aerospace and defence exhibitions, kickstarts today. The exhibition will be held at AFB Waterkloof, Centurion, in the city of Tshwane, South Africa. Gripen will be on show, both in the air display and static park.

“With South Africa's acquisition of Gripen fighters, a very strong and long relationship was forged between Saab, Sweden and South Africa. And it’s a two-way relationship. Today, we see Gripen flying all over the world - South Africa, South America, Europe and Asia - with systems and technologies developed in South Africa. Saab's presence at AAD underlines this commitment to a long term relationship and technology transfer,” says Hans Rosen, Head of Saab Country Unit, Africa, EMEA.  

The first AAD was held in the year 1975. It was known as the Aerospace Africa civilian exhibition at that time. From a local aero-display and trade show held at a small airport to a full-fledged international airshow with participation of more than 20 countries, AAD has grown a lot in the last 42 years. 

AAD 2016 will be held between 14 and 18 September 2016. 14-16 September will be business days while the exhibition will be open for public on 17 and 18 September.

Know more about Saab’s participation in the exhibition here.

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South African Air Force Gripen pilots participated in a camp recently to test their air-to-air gunning skills, reports Defence Web​.

An annual training event for SAAF, the camp was held at the Overberg Air Force Base. Six South African Air Force Gripen and five Hawks flew for almost 140 hours during this event. The participating pilots focused on firing, navigation, battle formations and general flying skills. The area between Arniston and Infanta was used as the firing range.

According to Major Unathi Makoba, the approach controller for the camp, such air-to-air camps should be held twice a year.

“This would not only boost the morale and confidence of pilots, air traffic controllers, mission controllers and technicians but would also require them to work to ensure the necessary flying hours were available for any mission,” he says.

Read the full story here​.

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Congratulations Jörgen Nilsson, the winner of #Gripenevolution contest. Nilsson, a Sweden based aviation photographer, will get a ticket to the Gripen Evolution event in Linköping on 18 May. 

The event will also be live streamed on www.gripen.com/evolution on May 18.

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Gripen NG fighters will be integrated with a new Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system, reports Flightglobal​.

The new IFF systems will be provided by Italian company Finmeccanica. As per the contract signed between Saab and Finmeccanica, the latter will provide 96 IFF systems plus spare parts by the year 2022. Each IFF system will have a transponder, an interrogator and a crypto that will be customized as per operator’s requirements. 

Operating independently from Gripen's radar and other sensors, the IFF system allows the pilot to identify targets. The separate antennas give it a wide, more-than 180 degree field of regard, providing operational benefits.

Besides the IFF system, Finmeccanica  is also responsible for providing two other main sensors for Gripen NG, the Raven ES05 AESA (E-Scan) radar and the Skyward-G IRST (Infrared Search & Track) passive sensor.

Read the full story here.

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Denel Dynamics has started the production of A-Darter imaging infrared (IIR) short-range air-to-air missile (SRAAM) for the South African Air Force, reports IHS Jane's. The missiles are being produced to arm the SAAF Gripen and the Hawks.

Denel Dynamics won the five-year contract for the production of the A-Darter air-to-air missile in March this year. The missiles have been developed under SAAF’s Project Kamas which commenced in 2011.

The A-Darter is a fifth-generation short-range air-to-air missile to be used during aerial combat with the new generation of fighter aircraft. It features extended range and targeting and countermeasures resistance with a 180° field of view. SRAAM’s solid fuel rocket motor has a low launch signature which makes it difficult to be detected.

According to IHS Jane’s​, Denel Dynamics intends to deliver the first training missiles to the SAAF by September 2016. The operational missiles will be delivered during the year 2017.

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Gripen has the perfect combination of superior operational performance, advanced high-tech solutions, true cost-efficiency and real industrial partnership – all combined in one, complete fighter system. This balanced combination of capabilities makes Gripen totally unique. 

Photo: Christo Crous and Stefan Kalm

Download the calendar here​.

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South African company Pretoria Metal Pressings (PMP) will locally manufacture cannon ammunition for the SAAF Gripen, reports Defence Web​.

Phaladi Petje, CEO of PMP says that the design and development on Gripen ammunition production is being finalized with Armscor and the South African Air Force (SAAF). Petje adds that PMP intends to work closely with Saab and gun manufacturer Mauser on ammunition.

Currently, the ammunition is made in Germany by automotive parts supplier Rheinmetall. According to the Defence Web report, a single 27 mm Mauser BK-27 cannon with 120 rounds of ammunition is added to a single seat Gripen. Ammunition available includes high explosive, armour piercing, armour piercing high explosive, semi armour piercing high explosive, and target practice.

PMP is a Denel Group company that specializes in small- and medium-calibre ammunition, brass products, detonics, power cartridges and mining drill-bits.

Read the full story here.

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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.
 
The reference to articles and news reports does not imply endorsement or validation of the views of the authors of the stories.