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​​​Lars Löfdahl, 43, from Örbro, Sweden, dreamt of flying a Gripen ever since he was a child. So when Saab announced a competition earlier this year with the prize of a flight in Gripen, Lars could not miss it. He gave it a shot and amidst 2000 entries, he was declared the winner.

Lars getting dressed in flight gear 

Pilot André showing Lars the flight route

Lars getting into Gripen

Lars taking off for the first time in a Gripen

Pilot André and Lars after the flight​

13 August 2015 was his day. He flew to Linköping and after a short introduction to Saab, he had a routine medical examination. This was followed by a briefing from test pilot, André Brännström on what he could expect. "The conditions today are perfect" the seasoned test pilot remarked.

The competition was designed with the objective of giving people a new, correct representation of Saab. People think of cars when they think of Saab. Though, that side of the business was sold in the mid 1990's, people still associate Saab with cars. 

"A plan was put into place to explore how we could give those people a new impression of Saab. As part of this we wanted to start a conversation with the public on safety and security, and what it means to them" remarked Gustaf Ekelund, Vice President and Head of Brand. A competition was thought of and the prize had to be something that could demonstrate Saab's technology in action: A ...

​SwAF pilots conducted a Gripen flypast to mark the occasion of the National Day in Sweden last month.

National Day is observed in Sweden on 6 June every year. It is celebrated in honour of two historical events. King Gustav Vasa was elected on this day in 1523 and later in the year 1809, Sweden adopted a new constitution on the same day.

Here are some images of the Gripen flypast on the National Day 2015:

Image Courtesy: Norrbottens Flygflottilj F 21​​

Saab has received an order for spare parts for Gripen E from the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV). The order is part of the Gripen E framework agreement which was signed between Saab and FMV in February 2013. The order value amounts to approximately SEK250 million and the order was booked as order intake in the second quarter of 2015.

The order comprises spare parts, such as components and devices, for Gripen E. Delivery is expected to take place in conjunction with initial aircraft delivery.

Read the full story here.

Swedish Air Force Gripen escorting USAF B52 over the Baltic Sea

SwAF Gripen participated in the annual multinational exercise BALTOPS (Baltic Operations) which came to an end last week. Besides Gripen, participating countries included Finland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Canada, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

BALTOPS is NATO’s multinational maritime exercise which is being conducted since 1971 and Sweden has participated on 23 occasions so far. BALTOPS 2015 was led by the US and NATO, and was conducted in the Baltic Sea. This year, the exercise had participation from 17 nations with about 5600 men, 60 surface vessels and boats, 50 combat aircraft, a Polish Navy submarine and helicopters.

BALTOPS provides an effective platform for the U.S. Navy, NATO, and non-NATO participants to work together and develop mutual understanding and hone their maritime operational skills. The training exercises which include electronic warfare, air control and shallow water undersea warfare are targeted towards knowing the sea well and achieving interoperability among the participating forces.

BALTOPS 2015 was conducted between 5 and 20 June.

Read more about BALTOPS here.

GE Aviation will deliver the first flight test F414-400 for a single-engine application for the Gripen E to Saab later this year, reports Aviation Week.

GE vice president and general manager of its Aviation’s military systems, Jean Lydon-Rodgers confirmed the delivery schedule last week, adding that the production of the F414-400 engine will begin in 2017.

We will have 90 engines on order by the end of this summer for Gripen fighters for Sweden and Brazil,” he says. “And we expect that to increase as the Swedish order grows.”

The F414 fighter engine offers 35 percent more thrust and significant improvements in aircraft performance, survivability and payload as compared to its predecessor F404. The engine not only gives Gripen supercruise but also plays an important role in reducing the fighter’s life cycle cost.

The engine boasts of features like Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC) that improve its operational characteristics. The F414 fan also provides 16 percent more airflow than the F404 fan with improved bird strike and foreign object damage resistance features. 

Read the full story here

​ACE 15, the two weeks long exercise in which pilots from Sweden, Finland and Norway participated, got over last week. Have a look at some more images from the multinational exercise:

Image Courtesy: Norrbottens Flygflottilj F 21, Louise Levin/Försvarsmakten

​Gripen performed a spectacular aerial display at the recent Finnish event, Turku Airshow 2015.

Turku Airshow, organized by Turku Flying Club with support from Finnish Air Force and Finnish Aeronautical Association, is one of the most important aviation events in Finland. 

Turku Airshow was held on 6 and 7 June. 

Air Show 2015, the year’s largest military air show in Sweden, will be held on 4 July and on display will be capabilities of the Swedish Air Force and how they contribute to the overall ability of the Swedish Armed Forces. The Air Show will be hosted by the Skaraborg Wing F-7.

Visitors will get to see aircraft both on static and spectacular air displays. Gripen air displays planned would include aerial refueling as well. Besides Gripen, L-159 Alca (Czech Air Force), F-18 Hornet (Finnish Air Force), AJS 37 Viggen and J 29 Tunnan will take part in air displays.

It will be a great opportunity for visitors to know the Swedish Armed Force as there would not just be aircraft on display, personnel on ground including aeronautical engineers, pilots, ground controllers, airbase safety officers and soldiers will be present to answer questions on anything; from basic military training to life as a soldier. 

Also, there will be a ‘Future Section’ in which Saab will showcase future products. For more information on the Air Show, click here.

Between complex missions, peace keeping exercises and radio and radar interferences, participants of the ACE15 also successfully practiced aerial refueling.

“We can refuel two planes at a time. The amount of fuel depends on the kind of missions and the availability of an extra tanker in the plane,” says Commander Per Carl Malm from the Skaraborg Wing.

The commander adds that the Swedish Air Force has the capability of aerial refueling for the last ten years now. Hence it is almost a routine exercise for the Swedish crew, but it is a great exercise nonetheless where one gets to see the whole refueling process and practice a set of complex steps.

ACE 15, in which fighter aircraft from Sweden, Finland and Norway participated, was held between 25 May and 5 June. In total, 1451 flights were conducted over Sweden, Norway and Finland as a part of this exercise. 

The next Arctic Challenge Exercise will be held in 2017.

Read the full story: En flygande tankstation

In a Forsvarsmakten blog post, some of 212th fighter division's youngest members, Robert Andree and Christopher share their views and experiences of participating in the Arctic Challenge Exercise 2015.

Before ACE 15, these pilots participated in AFM 15 (Arctic Fighter Meet) where they focused on air combat maneuvering against fighters other than Gripen. At ACE 15, the missions were different. The exercise scenario at ACE 15 revolved around an international peace-management operation under the UN mandate.

For the young Swedish pilots, ACE 15 was the first major international exercise in which they participated. “This was our first major exercise and despite extensive preparations, it felt like we were thrown into an incredibly complex system where each part had to simply work,” they said.

The pilots added that every day at ACE 15 was a new experience and they worked long hours and flew complex missions. A lot of time was spent on preparations, briefings and evaluations. “Besides all the professional collaborations and missions and evaluations, it was a very useful experience to meet and discuss with the pilots and other personnel from different countries. For us, this exercise was a major step forward in our professional development. It was a challenging exercise, but  at the same time, it was great fun to be a part of it,” the pilots said.

Read the full story: Första veckan av ACE 15

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​

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