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Swedish Air Force Gripen has now been integrated with the MBDA Meteor air-to-air missile (AAM), reports UPI.

“After extensive testing by FMV and the Gripen Operational Test and Evaluation unit, all of the new MS20 functions including the Meteor missile are now fully integrated with Gripen. The Swedish Air Force is now in its Initial Operational Capability phase with the Meteor. The Meteor missile is currently the most lethal radar-guided missile in operational service, and the Swedish Air Force is the only operational user so far. I am very proud and satisfied to have the Meteor in the inventory of my air force” said Major General Mats Helgesson, Chief-of-Staff of the Swedish Air Forces.

This missile can shoot down airborne threats launched from a distance of more than 100km. Its unique solid-fuel throttleable ducted rocket, also known as a ramjet, allows the missile to maintain very high speed all the way to the target, giving increased stand-off and disengagement ranges and greater ability to chase and destroy highly agile moving targets.

As per Saab, BVRAAM’s unrivalled no-escape-zone (three times greater than any current BVR missile) will dominate the future air-to-air battlespace, giving a decisive capability to Gripen and its pilots.

The missile has been jointly developed by Sweden, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Great Britain.

"Combined with the IRIS-T heat-seeking missile, we have the best air-to-air weaponry you can find in the world," said Major General Helgesson.

Read the full story here.

Capt Peter Fällén from the Swedish Air Force performed his award winning flying display at the Farnborough International Airshow. The weeklong Airshow is being held in the UK.​

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Sweden and Saab recently offered to co-develop its Gallium Nitride AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar with India if it selected Gripen fighters. According to Lars Tossman, Head of Saab’s Airborne Surveillance business unit, GaN AESA radars are 70 percent more effective than existing AESA radar technology.

Saab has been actively researching, and working with GaN for a number of years with Chalmers University of Technology and the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV). GaN technology is already included in the new members of Saab’s extended surface radar family, which were launched in 2014. Because of its high power efficiency, GaN allows an extended range through higher output and higher reliability.

So far, Saab is far ahead of its competitors in terms of GaN development. Deemed as the next big thing since silicon, GaN has gained a lot of attention in military and civilian defence development over the last few years.

GaN is a semi-conductive material currently under intensive development. Areas of use include LED-lights and Blu-ray components, and now it is also being incorporated into microwave applications in the military industry. GaN transistors have the ability to boost the amplification of microwave signals. Since it can carry higher voltage as compared to silicon, GaN allows a system to operate on less power.

Last year, Saab won the prestigious Aviation Week Laureate Award for bringing GaN electronics to military radar and electronic-warfare systems, introducing the technology into products for delivery in 2016.

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Three Swedish Air Force Gripen will participate in the Tour de Sky – Kuopio International Airshow, the biggest aviation event in Finland.

One of the participating Gripen aircraft will be on static display and one will perform aerial display for the visitors of the event.

Tour de Sky is an annual airshow, and this year it will be held on 18 and 19 June.

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During the last few weeks, SwAF Gripen pilots were busy at the Tactics, Techniques and Procedures Exercise (TTP16). TTP is a recurrent exercise, but this time it was different as the participating Gripen fighters were upgraded with the MS20.

The MS20 upgraded Gripen are integrated with the MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile and Boeing GBU-39 Small-Diameter Bomb, improved radar modes and a new laser designation pod (LDP) among other things.

TTP is also known as pilot's own exercise because there are no order chains; the pilots have to make their own decisions. The exercise focuses on developing skills to fight in a war, giving pilots an opportunity to work on small details that can make big differences in real life scenarios.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten

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The new Gripen E will make its maiden flight later this year. Though thanks to simulators, it has already been flying a lot in the virtual world. 

To ensure that the simulators replicate actual onboard systems, the same software and tools used for developing the aircraft are deployed. The process called “design once” makes certain that the simulated aircraft systems are performing in the same fashion as those on the aircraft.

Saab test pilot Jonas Jakobsson says that they are focussing on the system design at the moment. "We have started to practice a lot of tactical scenarios, and are looking at different systems and human-machine interfaces," he says.

According to Saab, testing in simulators reduces the number of actual test flights by about two thirds. Because of the model-based design and advanced simulators, pilots can perform a series of tests in the computer environment before the actual flights.

Read the full story here.

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The Swedish Air Force Gripen has been upgraded with MS 20.

As a part of this upgrade, one of the major additions is that of MBDA’s Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile. The missile's propulsion is managed by a ramjet engine.

"The ramjet engine provides a significant increase in range. It makes it harder for an enemy to protect themselves from Meteor as compared to missiles operated with conventional propelled rocket [engines]," said Michael Östergren, Project Manager for the version 20 upgrade at FMV.

According to the Swedish Air Force Chief Maj Gen Mats Helgesson, the Meteor’s addition is a game-changer.

Besides the Meteor, GCA, Ground Collision Avoidance System is another important feature of MS 20. GCA will help avoid a collision with the ground in case the pilot loses control.

Also, with the new upgrade, there is an enhanced chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) protection for the pilot. The new protection not only safeguards pilots in contaminated environments during a mission, but also helps the ground crew to effectively decontaminate the aircraft once it has landed.​

Read the full story here.

​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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