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"We have the best equipped fighter in the world," says Maj. Gen. Mats Helgesson, Chief of the Swedish Air Force  In an interview with Defense & Aerospace Report, he talks about the 90 years of Sweden´s Air Force, the Gripen C/D upgrade and Gripen E.

​More than 130,000 visitors attended the event that celebrated 90 years of the Swedish Air Force. Besides Gripen, more than 100 aircraft including Viggen, Draken and Tunnan also participated.​

Saab Experience offered virtual & augmented reality and a Gripen simulator among other things. Here are a few snapshots from the event.29285832335_ceda24179a_z.jpg

Gripen fighters in an aerial formation

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 Gripen test pilot Hans Einerth and a young visitor posing with a full scale Gripen E replica
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Inside Saab Experience
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The Air Force of Sweden celebrates 90 years this weekend and as part of the celebrations, there will be an airshow at Malmen Air Base, Linköping. The event, called Flygdagarna, will focus on the capabilities of the Swedish Air Force.

Saab will present its Saab Experience concept, an immersive space that showcases its unique and sometimes revolutionary products. At Saab Experience, visitors can see products like Gripen and Deployable Aircraft Maintenance Facility.

There will be a full scale Gripen E replica at the event as well. For those who love games, there will be a multi-player version of the Gripen Fighter Challenge game.

An impressive program of flying displays of both Gripen and legendary Saab and international fighters is also lined up. The Swedish Air Force Historic Flight team that flies and maintains old SwAF aircraft has confirmed that aircraft like Viggen, Draken, Tunnan, Sk-16 and Sk-60 will participate.

Know more about Saab’s participation in the event here.

​Fresh off the printer! Here are some pictures of Swedish Air Force ‪‎Gripen‬ flying with the latest operational upgrade and combat enhancement for the Gripen fighter, MS20.

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Seen by many as a series of giant leaps in innovation the story of flight is, in fact, one of fantastic evolution. More than anyone the Gripen team at Saab know this. It is evolutionary thinking that has kept the Gripen system more than one step ahead.

Most military aircraft are built with the present and future in mind. Fighters are ordinarily commissioned decades in advance of completion. These needs are usually defined by military planners. The planners draw on as much intelligence and strategic thinking as possible to make the right decisions for what are massive multi-billion dollar projects. During the cold war many nations considered the military of the highest economic priority. Matters of defence were given huge budgets. When it came to air forces there were some with seemingly bottomless pockets.

Swedish prudence and the birth of Gripen

Sweden was one country that did not believe in blank cheques when it came to its military. The Swedish Air Force was to be no exception. 

In 1980 a requirement was issued to Swedish manufacturers for a new multi-role aircraft. The bar was set high. Excellent performance, agility and speed were all necessary to combat the threats at that time. However, the high-level Swedish strategists did not only put in a request for a new fighter. They pushed for a new way of thinking. They had decided it would be costly and difficult to adapt many of the aircraft on the market. They realised that the fundamental requirements ...

​Gripen E was presented to the world on 18 May 2016. This aircraft presented was the first of the three test aircraft which will support the Gripen E programme. Attended by more than 500 guests, the Gripen Evolution event also included an aerial display by a Gripen C and a static display of a SwAF Gripen upgraded to the MS20 configuration.​ Here are some images from the roll out.

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For more images and videos, visit Saab.​

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A fighter aircraft should be able to operate 24 hours. However, night flying is slightly different and comes with its own set of challenges. Hence, night flying trainings are extremely important. 

With the integration of the latest in technology, Gripen is able to detect and destroy a wide variety of targets, even at night or in poor weather conditions. As the human eyes have only limited night vision capabilities, night vision goggles are crucial. The usage of night vision devices goes back as far as World War II. Technological advancements over the years have made these devices more accurate and user friendly for today’s fighter pilots.  

Besides being Night Vision Goggles (NVG) compatible, Gripen is also equipped with high intensity LED landing lights that are NVG friendly and emit significantly less infra-red radiation than a standard halogen light. The New Generation Gripen fighters will be integrated with LED landing lights that will deliver a peak intensity greater than 200,000cd and taxi lights that will have a peak intensity performance greater than 27,000cd.

Along with technology, getting used to the skies during night hours is also very important. The pilots need to get used to visibility difference, extra weight of night vision goggles and limited pilotage (as compared to day-time). 

For the Norbotten Wing, October usually marks the start of the night flying training sessions. The training usually continues for six months with a dedicated day every week. ​

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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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