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​Yesterday, Saab unveiled Gripen E, the next generation fighter. Over previous versions of the Gripen, Gripen E has a significantly improved avionics system. The capability to carry more weapons and the improved range performance is possible by a more powerful engine and the ability to carry more fuel. Gripen E is equipped with a highly sophisticated sensor suite including an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, Infra Red Search and Track (IRST), Electronic Warfare (EW) suite, and datalink technology, which, when combined, gives the pilot and co-operating forces, exactly the information needed at all times.

The Gripen Evolution ceremony was attended by more than 500 guests including Sweden’s Minister of Defence Peter Hultqvist, Sweden’s Air Force Chief of Staff Mats Helgesson, Commander of the Brazilian Air Force, Nivaldo Luiz Rossato, and representing Saab; Chairman of the Board Marcus Wallenberg, CEO Håkan Buskhe and the Head of business area Aeronautics, Ulf Nilsson.

“We are redefining air power for the 21st century. This will change the way air forces think, fly and fight for decades to come,” says Ulf Nilsson, head of Saab business area Aeronautics.

Know more about the event here​.

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A modern fighter aircraft will have an operational life of thirty to forty years, perhaps more. This poses a great challenge for air forces. How can you maintain technological superiority over the fighter’s entire life in service? Especially when engineering capabilities are becoming more widely available, to both friends and foes, and technology advances much faster.

The smartest thing with Gripen is its ability to constantly evolve. Very few things are more high tech and complex than fighter jets. Still they can be upgraded, not that different to how you upgrade the operating system on your smart phone or buy new functionality in apps. Traditionally, aircraft operates for 10-15 years before being upgraded to fly another 10-15 years. But Gripen is different. We have a long tradition of gradual development. Every two to three years we introduce new operational upgrades and combat enhancements to Gripen.

Our philosophy
Our development philosophy has several advantages. Most importantly the fighter is always up to date, continuously enhanced to take on and defeat combat challenges. Secondly, the upgrades can be adapted to specific requirements. If you make just one major upgrade you must predict the future operational needs for the rest of the aircraft's lifetime, knowing very little about future threats. The world is constantly changing, and the pace is rapid. Five years ago few could predict the developments in Ukraine and Syria. The flexible design of Gripen allows us to constantly upgrade the system and add capability when the need arise.
 
How ...

​Behind-the-scene highlights from the first next generation Gripen in production, shown in 30 seconds. On May 18 we will unveil the first Gripen E to the world both on site in Linköping and online.

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Saab test pilot Stig Holmström was the first one to fly a Gripen aircraft. The flight was made on 9 December 1988. The entire maiden flight fom Linköping towards the coast of Nyköping and Malexander​ and back took about 51 minutes.

The new Swedish fighter was set to replace Saab 37 Viggen. Demands were sky high. Gripen had to be fully computerised and easily switch between air combat, attack and reconnaissance. This was an enormous challenge as the computers and systems needed did not yet exist.

Holmström, who had also flown Draken and Viggen before, had been preparing in a Gripen simulator for quite some time before this flight. Throughout the flight, three other planes were closely following the new fighter.   

On May 18, Saab will take the next step in the evolution of the #smartfighter when it will unveil the very first Gripen E test aircraft.​

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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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Finnish blogger Robin Häggblom visited a Gripen hangar at F 7 Skaraborg Wing where test pilot André Brännström, a former Swedish Air Force pilot, gave him a tour of Gripen hangar. A Gripen pilot has to keep himself up to date with all the new systems and hence Brännström still occasionally flies for the Air Force in order to understand the operator’s point of view, he says. Brännström participated in ACE15 last year where he got to perform a mission with a Finnish F/A-18C Hornet in a 1-vs-1 scenario.

Writing about his tour, Häggblom notes, “In the hangar, a single Gripen fighter stood parked. ‘39214’ sported the cat paw of the Såtenäs-based F 7 Skaraborg Wing, and represented the latest standard in 39C development, what Saab calls the Edition 20. In practice, this means that the aircraft features improvements to the radar and adds the capability to employ METEOR long-range air-to-air missiles and GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs, a 110 kg guided bomb with pop-out wings that give it the ability to glide towards it target,​ both of which will be key weapons in the arsenal of the 39E when it enters service. The Edition 20 is to be introduced in regular service within the next few weeks.”

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy:Corporal Frisk

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Swedish Air Force has confirmed that it would be sending a Gripen fighter to RAF Fairford this summer for the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT).

The first RIAT was held at North Weald Airfield in 1971 and was inspired by two air traffic controllers, Paul Bowen and Tim Prince. At that time, it was only a modest event with a few volunteers. Since then, RIAT has grown into a big event with the participation of more than 250 aircraft every year. Gripen NG demonstrator was first displayed outside Sweden in RIAT 2010. 

RIAT 2016 will be held between 8 and 10 July 2016.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Stefan Kalm

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Her job is to make sure that all the boxes in her checklist are ticked before a Gripen aircraft is ready for its next mission. In an interview with Forsvarsmakten, Elin Redmo, maintenance engineer at the 31st Aviation Services Company, talks about her love for Gripen and her daily work.

It was only a few years back when Elin worked as a soldier at the F17 Wing when she saw a Gripen fighter for the first time. “I found the fighter so cool and wanted to see how it worked,” she says.

So, after studying to become a flight technician for one and a half years, Elin has now started working at F 21, Luleå as a maintenance engineer. Next week, she will be at F 16 Uppsala on a rotation. 

“I like it a lot. The work is the same wherever you are but the change of environment gives new experiences,” she says.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​​

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Saab has awarded a subcontract to German automotive parts supplier Rheinmetall to provide automatic cannons for the Swedish and Brazilian Gripen NGs.

Rheinmetall's Mauser BK-27 automatic revolver cannon will feature a newly developed linkless ammunition feeding system. A highly effective weapon for close air combat and against ground and unprotected naval targets, Mauser BK 27 was first developed in the late 1960s for an MRCA (Multi Role Combat Aircraft) program.

Rheinmetall will also provide service support and spare parts along with associated ammunition for the weapon system.

As per the contract, the automatic cannons will be delivered during 2017 and 2025.

Read the full story here.

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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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