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On 22 January, two dozen students, out of which eight will be future Gripen pilots, graduated at their Flight School in Malmslätt outside Linköping and received their sought after Wings, reports Forsvarsmakten​.

For the last one year, these 24 students have been flying training aircraft Saab SK 60 which has been serving the Swedish Armed Forces since 1967. A new, upgraded version of the SK 60 was introduced in autumn 2013 with features like GPS system and other navigation aids to help the pilot navigate more precisely.

In his message to the young pilots, Major General Micael Bydén said, “Getting the wings after passing the basic flying training and graduating, is a milestone in a pilot's career. The wing is a sign that you have reached a certain level. You should be very proud of these wings.”

Besides the eight pilots who will continue to train to become Gripen pilots, four graduates will move on and learn how to fly C 130 Hercules or Saab 340, and the remaining 12 graduates, two of which are women, will fly helicopters.

All the 24 graduates have to take on further courses before they are ready to be placed at an operational Air wing. The next phase is called GTU which is a Basic Tactical Training where the pilots will learn to practice more advanced and tactical exercises.

Read the full story:  Drömmen blev verklighet

Image Courtesy:Forsvarsmakten

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On January 16, Carl-Johan Edstrom took over as the flotilla manager at Norrbotten Wing. In an interview with Forsvarsmakten, the Gripen pilot talks about Nordic Cooperation and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Edstrom’s career as a fighter pilot started in 1990 and six years later he was the Group Manager at 212.stridsflygdivisionen. Since then he has held a number of positions. He was also the Operation Commander of the Swedish air operation over Libya in 2011.

“I am still active as a pilot with flight service on both the Gripen and SK 60. During my career I have flown more than 2500 hours of combat and flight school,” Edstrom says.

According to the new flotilla manager, the biggest challenge is to recruit, train and retain soldiers, civilians and officers for missions. However, he stresses that there are opportunities for the Wing as well.

“There have been major geopolitical changes in our region in recent years. F 21 and the war troops will play a central role in asserting Swedish territorial integrity, safeguarding Swedish interests and promoting safety. Wing's active involvement in the Nordic cooperation contributes to increased security in our region,” Edstrom says.

Read the full interview: Tillbaka till flottiljen – som chef

Former air display pilot Martin Hansson has received the F17 Medal of merit in silver for his valuable work, reports Kent Löving of Forsvarsmakten

Hansson was air display pilot between 2007 and 2014. He performed his last Gripen air display at the Danish Air Show 2014, Karup.

“Martin Hansson has made great personal sacrifices as an air display pilot to market the Defense force, Air Force, and F17. He has done it for many years without incidents and in his work has shown proof of independence, humility and inspiration. Martin Hansson has very much personally contributed to the Blekinge wing’s good reputation,” the report adds.

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About flight demonstrations, Hansson said last year that though it is a standard program, sometimes he would add something extra while performing his stunts. 

"A demonstration program includes the most advanced maneuvers that pilots can do with Gripen and it can be mentally tiring," he said.

Read the full story: Uppvisningspilot får förtjänstmedalj

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten

In a rare display of its kind, three generations of Saab's fighter aircraft - Gripen, Viggen and Draken - came together to perform a flypast at the  NATO Days in Ostrava & Air Force Days at Mošnov airport in September this year.

Four Czech pilots - Michal Danek, Ervin Um, Merta and Martin Pelda were awarded at the event for flying a thousand hours in Gripen.

To see the three aircraft together, one usually needs to travel to Sweden. Hence, it was a unique opportunity for more than 200, 000 visitors at the NATO Days in Ostrava & Air Force Days to witness the three Saab fighter aircraft in a flypast.

It was a demonstration that celebrated the past and the present.

Draken takes us to the days of a new beginning; the jet era had already started. Sweden wanted to develop an aircraft that could undertake a combat role unique to the country. It was important for the aircraft to be able to operate from reinforced public roads used as part of wartime airbases and to be refueled and rearmed as quickly as possible. Manufactured between 1955 and 1974, the Draken was first built to replace the Saab J29 Tunnan. The one of its kind aircraft entered service with the Swedish Air Force in 1960 and was successfully exported to Austria, Denmark and Finland as well.

More than a decade later, Viggen was conceptualized with an aim to replace the Saab 32 Lansen in the attack role and later ...

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​A Gripen pilot took photographs of Russian military aircraft involved in exercises over the Baltic last week, reports the Expressen​.

The exercise is described by the Armed Forces as second to none and of a size not seen since the Cold War. The Swedish incident preparedness went up several times during the exercise.

Armed Forces identified planes that included a TU-95, strategic bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

"This is the worst we have seen since Cold War days", says Göran Mårtensson, Director of Operations for the Swedish Armed Forces.

Read the full story: Här är JAS-piloternas bilder på ryska planen

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Čáslav in the Czech Republic will host tri-annual exercise Lion Effort, starring the Gripen C/D in all roles, in 2015. Several Gripen operators will participate in the exercise.

Lion Effort presents a great opportunity for various Gripen operators to not just train together but to also share best practices and operational know-how with each other.

The first Lion Effort exercise was held in 2009 in Hungary, while the second was held in Sweden in 2012. In 2012, four of the five Gripen operating nations participated in the exercise. Royal Thai Air Force Gripen were not present but observers from the Air Force attended the exercise.

Lion Effort consists of various planned and unplanned missions followed by brainstorming sessions during which participants raise questions and suggest ways of refining the plan. The exercise provides a platform for testing the operational deployment ability of the Gripen and training of air and ground crews in multinational operations.​

Image Coutesy: Peter Liander​

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Recently, Saab received three development and maintenance orders from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV).

Saab has received an order to provide maintenance of technical system support and spare parts for Gripen during 2015 on behalf of the Swedish armed forces. The contract value is approx. SEK 385 million.

The order confirms previous option of services to be provided during 2015 and includes technical system support for the Swedish armed forces and FMV in the form of operational and technical support, equipment follow-up, proposed modifications, environmental technology plus warehouse operations for replacement units.

The second order received by Saab is to provide maintenance, operational support and continuing development work for Gripen during 2015. The order is valued at SEK 355 million. It includes the operation of rigs, simulators and test aircraft for the verification and validation of the Gripen C/D and Gripen E fighter aircraft systems, plus operational support for Gripen C/D.

Saab has also received a development order for Gripen E from the FMV.  This order is part of the Gripen E framework agreement from 2013 and is valued at SEK 385 million.

Besides these three orders,Saab and the Brazilian Ministry of Defence, through the Air Force Aeronautics Command (COMAER), have signed a contract for Gripen NG contractor logistics support (CLS). The total order value is SEK 548 million. The order is expected to be booked by Saab in 2021.​

Read the full story here.

​It is a Swedish Air Force Flight School tradition to send a Christmas greeting from above, by flying in a Christmas tree formation. 

Normally twelve SK 60 training aircraft take to the skies and make a formation that looks like a Christmas tree. This year, for the first time, the SK 60s will have company as two Gripen fighters may join, reports Corren.

christmas1.jpg12.jpgThe formation will fly at a speed of 375 km/h, at an altitude of about 400 meters, with five meters between each plane. Flight instructors will fly the aircraft with students as passengers. 

According to the report, the only threat to the planned flight can be the weather.

“If the cloud base gets too low, we will have to cancel,” says Michael Rosenquist, deputy manager of Flight School at Malmen.

Read the full story: Gripen dekorerar granen

Photo Courtesy: Jan Basilius/Försvarsmakten (The images and video are of the previous year and hence do not include Gripen)

​Gripen pilots from Swedish Air Force Wing F21 practiced with laser guided bombs in an exercise last week, reports Forsvarsmakten.

According to the report, the annual defense budget increase has given the Armed Forces possibility to increase the amount of flight hours, strengthen the incident standby capacity and to practice more.

Fighter Squadron at F21 has therefore been able to drop laser guided bombs over Vidsel firing range- there were two ship formations of Gripen who dropped one bomb each.

“With advanced systems, we need to practice a lot. So this extra training session is particularly welcome,” says division manager Tobhias Wikström.

Read the full story: Precision i målet

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F 7 Såtenäs, Skaraborgs Flygflottilj, the Swedish Air Wing which was established in 1940, will celebrate its 75 years in 2015, reports Airshowinfo.

The Såtenäs estate was chosen for its good location and close proximity to suitable target ranges. According to the report, F7 stepped into the jet age in 1957, with the Saab 29 Tunnan, and from 1973 to 1993, AJ 37 Viggen served the Air Force.

In 1993, one squadron at F7 was converted to the Gripen A/B and by 1997, the other squadrons followed suit. The Wing received its first C/D version of the Gripen in 2010 and the complete conversion happened by 2012. Now, the Wing is the main hub of the Gripen trainings. All pilots who fly Gripen aircraft are trained at F 7.

The F7 has 4 squadrons at the moment. Three fighter squadrons, equipped with Gripen C/D jets are called the 71 Fightng Squadron (Gustav Red), the 72 Fighting Squadron (Gustav Blue) and the 73 Fighting Squadron (Gustav Yellow). 

Read the full story:  F7 Airbase at Såtenäs, Sweden will celebrate it's 75 years in 2015

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