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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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Finnish blogger Robin Häggblom visited a Gripen hangar at F 7 Skaraborg Wing where test pilot André Brännström, a former Swedish Air Force pilot who started his career with flying J 35 Draken, gave him a tour of Gripen. 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 C 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 Gripen E 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: Swedish Armed Forces

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It is a dream of many to become a fighter pilot. But some people go a step ahead. They become a test pilot. In the Swedish news paper Svenska Dagbladet, one of our test pilots tells the story about how to push Gripen to its limits and how he became a test pilot.

Watch the video here.

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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). 

The Swedish Air Force Gripen pilots conducted night-time missions last week. 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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A new year usually means a fresh start and new challenges. Skaraborg Wing is no exception. After 10 years of being an organization that trained pilots of existing Gripen user countries to fly Gripen, it is all set to become a fully operational battle unit, reports Forsvarsmakten​

This transition means there will be increased training and exercises to develop capabilities for combat scenarios. Gripen pilots and technicians at the Air Wing will now undergo training that will focus on making them mission ready. Besides relevant training, more people, new as well as those with experience, will be hired.

Read the full story here.

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Last week, the Swedish Air Force held a traditional Wing Graduation ceremony for pilots who are all set to fly fighters, transport aircraft or helicopters within the Armed Forces. Out of these graduates, eight will fly Gripen. 

One of these pilots who will fly Gripen in future is Christopher Lundgren. He will join the fighter divisions of the F 21 in Luleå. “I have not regretted even a single day here, and today I got the reward for it,” says a very happy Christopher.

These students have been learning the art of flying in the Saab 105 (SK 60) aircraft for the last one year. Now ahead is a year at a fighter division where they will learn everything about the Gripen fighter system before they can call themselves Gripen fighter pilots. We wish them all the best and are looking forward to see them in the Gripen cockpit. 

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​

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Welcome to the official Gripen blog by Saab. This site features information and commentary about the Gripen fighter jet.
 
The Gripen Blog shares stories and discussions on the Gripen aircraft. The Blog does not vouch for the authenticity of the reports from other publications that have been quoted.
 
The reference to articles and news reports does not imply endorsement or validation of the views of the authors of the stories.