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Gripen fighters from both the Czech and the Hungarian Air Forces have been conducting several air policing missions during the last few years. But what is typical for an air policing mission and what happens when the radar picks up an unidentified aircraft? How does an air interception actually work? Watch the video to know about the various stages of an air interception.

​Exercise Trident Juncture 2015, NATO’s biggest exercise in a decade, was concluded last week. Personnel from NATO's Allied and partner nations were training together at the exercise to improve their operational readiness and interoperability.   

As a part of this exercise, six Swedish  Air Force Gripen flew with F-16s and F-18s from Finland, Norway, USA and Portugal. Here are a few snapshots from the exercise.

Image Courtesy: Norrbottens Flygflottilj F 21

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Saab has received an order from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) to provide support and maintenance for Gripen during 2016 on behalf of the Swedish Armed Forces. The contract value is SEK154 million.

In 2012 Saab signed a contract with FMV for performance-based support and maintenance of the Gripen fighter. This latest order for services in 2016 is confirmation of an option held under that 2012 contract. The order includes support and maintenance operations with a focus on technical support, publications and component maintenance to support the continued operation of Gripen.

“This order for performance-based support and maintenance guarantees efficient operations and availability for the Gripen fighter over the coming years,” says Jonas Hjelm, Head of Saab´s Business Area Support and Services.

Read the full story here.

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In a recent training exercise, SwAF Gripen technicians from air wing F7 practised Gripen aircraft maintenance under field conditions near forests, reports Forsvarsmakten.

“It has been a long time since we conducted a training exercise of this kind,” says Stefan Moback, Planning Officer at the 2nd Aviation Services Company. The last such exercise was held in 2004.

The training took place in a tent near the woods, a couple of kilometers from the Gripen hangars at F 7 Såtenäs. In these tents, maintenance of Gripen fighters can be done like it is done in the original hangar.

The tents are approximately 250 square meters wide and 6 meters high. They are supplied with electricity and heat to provide a good working environment even when it is cold and wet outside. The tents also have special containers which are connected for the safety material and for personnel.

Since the exercise was held after a long time, things were kept simpler and the staff had no pressure in the form of external threats. “We do not practice all of it in the first time,” says Moback. “We will build up the complexity of the exercise in terms of technology and staff, but we should do so after proper planning.”

Read the full story here.

Image courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​

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Over 36,000 personnel from over 30 different countries are participating in the Trident Juncture, 2015. The exercise is being held in parts of Spain, Portugal and Italy. NATO and non-NATO members are taking part in the exercise which encompasses land, air and naval domains.

The Swedish Fighter unit comprises of personnel and aircraft from the F21 wing and support from the F17 wing of the SwAF. The Swedish Gripen will fly with F-16s and F-17s from Finland, Norway, USA and Portugal. As a standard, all nations can fly groups of 4 fighters, 2-3 times a day, as part of the exercises. Transport aircraft like the C-130 and C-160, along with Search and Rescue helicopters, paratroopers and air-to-air refueling aircraft are also part of the exercise. 

The exercise focuses on a variety of roles including aerial refueling, air-to ground attack and aerial defence. The Trident Juncture exercises are very similar to the Arctic Challenge that was conducted in Luleå past spring.

Read the full story here​.

​Six SwAF Gripen fighters from the F21 Luleå flew to the Beja airbase in Portugal to participate in the Trident Juncture 2015. The journey took six hours and the jets were refueled twice in flight. 

The video shows the Gripen aircraft being refueled using the probe-and-drogue method where the Gripen fighter’s retractable probe meets the trailing drogue on the tanker and fuel is transferred. Once the transfer is complete, Gripen can retract the probe and the tanker can reel back the fuel line and drogue assembly before continuing the flight. 

Trident Juncture 2015, which is currently taking place in Italy, Spain and Portugal, is NATO’s largest exercise since 2012 with the participation of 9 partners, 28 allies, 18 observer nations and 12 international organizations. The exercise is defensive in nature with fictional scenarios and adversaries.

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The F21 Gripen squad started night operations on the 15th of this month. Night flying exercises with the Gripen fighters have been conducted for several years now. October marks the beginning of the training season.

The exercises are being conducted every Thursday from the Kallax base. 14 such exercises will be conducted in a span of six months, from October to March.

The beauty of night flying in northern Sweden is that it can be conducted until 18:00, because a large part of the day is dark during the winter months.

Night flying is essential for the air force as it prepares the pilots for missions at all hours and in all weather conditions. 

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten

To counter security threats, it is very important for an Air Force to have its combat readiness in place. Last weekend, F21 conducted an exercise to check its readiness, reports the Forsvarsmakten.

“We have done the exercise with speed, precision and panache,” says Joakim Hjort, Chief of the fleet.

According the Forsvarsmakten report, the participating personnel were not aware about the exercise till they were called in by the senior management. As a part of this exercise, a Gripen fighter was sent for an immediate rotation while an airbase security platoon patrolled the area.

In the past few years, in response to increased Russian activity over the Baltic Sea, Sweden has had an increased number of quick reaction alerts in its airspace. Squadron readiness hence has been a top priority for a while now.

“We have completed the task successfully, ensuring our availability and readiness. We have delivered operational efficiency. With the high availability of our units, both ground and air, we have proved that that we are all ready to deliver here and now,” Joakim Hjort says.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Louise Levin/Swedish Armed Forces

Personnel and six Gripen aircraft from the F21 wing of the Swedish Air Force are participating in NATO’s Trident Juncture 2015.

Trident Juncture is the largest military training exercise conducted by NATO since 2002. 36,000 personnel from all NATO states, as well as seven non-NATO members including Sweden, are participating in the exercise. The exercise encompasses land, air and naval domains.

The SwAF Gripen aircraft are being deployed out of the Beja Airbase in Portugal and will participate in Air Defese (interceptor), Fighter Bomber (light bomber in tactical bombing and ground attack) and Air Reconnaissance roles, throughout the course of the exercise.

Trident Juncture is being hosted by Italy, Portugal and Spain and has two parts: a Command Post Exercise (CPX) from 3-16 October and a Live Exercise (LIVEX) from 21 October to 6 November.

To know more about the exercise, click here.

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​

SwAF Gripen at the Siauliai air base, Lithuania

Last week, four Swedish Air Force Gripen were at Šiauliai, Lithuania to participate in the Baltic Region Training Event 22 (BRTE22), reports the Forsvarsmakten Blog

The training event includes search and rescue missions, practice of standard interoperability and cooperation and coordination procedures. Air-to-air combat training and air-to-air refuelling were conducted on both days.

“It is an important exercise that gives us a lot of experience as we collaborate with other aircraft types with different capabilities," says Jörgen Axelsson, F17 division.

The first BRTE happened in 2008. The exercise aims at training personnel on rotational Baltic Air Policing duties and improving interoperability and takes place three times a year.

The two day training event took place on 29 and 30 September.

Read the full story here​.

Image Courtesy: Thomas Mårtensson​ Swedish Armed Forces

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