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Fighter aircraft from Sweden, Finland and Norway are all set to participate in the international exercise called Arctic Challenge Exercise 2015 (ACE 15) next week.

The first Arctic Challenge Exercise was held in 2013 in which the primary responsibility was taken by Sweden. This year, it will be Norway taking the lead role. Though ACE 15 is an exercise in the framework of the Nordic cooperation between Sweden, Finland and Norway, there will be participants from Switzerland, United Kingdom, France, Germany, the USA and the Netherlands as well. 

The exercise scenario at ACE 15 revolves around an international peace-management operation under the UN mandate.

“I look forward to creating an exercise that prepares the Swedish and European air forces for future challenges and tasks,” says Colonel Carl-Johan Edström, Flotilla Manager at Norrbotten Wing and Assistant Training Leader at the ACE 15.

ACE 15 will be held between 25 May and 5 June.

Read the original story: Förberedelser pågår

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It is not as easy as they make it look like. A lot of planning, coordination and rehearsals go into a successful aerial photography mission. Catch the Czech, Hungarian and Swedish Gripen in a flying formation during the Lion Effort 2015.

Given the big difference in speeds of the Gripen fighters and the C-295 transport turboprop, the mission becomes even more complex as the number of aircraft increase.

Planning for an aerial photography mission starts with a pilot briefing to decide on the participating jets. The choreography is then coordinated with experienced inflight photographers.

In this case, it took a lot of coordination for the Czech, Hungarian and Swedish Gripen fighters to join up with the Czech CASA C-295 transport aircraft from 24th Air Transportation Base at Prague-Kbely which carried the photographers and their equipment. Before the final aerial photography mission, all the involved pilots are aware of each passing manoeuvre, knowing their exact role in the photo shoot.

Read the full story here

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Next week, Czech Republic will celebrate 10 years of its Gripen programme. The country will operate Gripen fighters for another 12 years as per a deal extension signed last year and recently, they scheduled to upgrade and enhance their fleet as well.

Till now, the Czech Gripen use Saab’s MS19 Block 3 software standard. However, by 2017 or 2018, the Gripen fighters will be upgraded to the MS20 configuration, reports Flightglobal.

MS 20 upgrade includes integration of 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.

“The need for the LDP is really strong, and right now there is a negotiation,” 211 Sqn pilot Capt Jiri Cermak said at Saab’s Linköping production facility in Sweden last month. The payload will assist pilots with the visual identification of aircraft at night, he adds.

According to the report, the Swedish Air Force will have its Gripen C/D fleet enhanced with the MS 20 block upgrade later this year. New air to air capability and air to ground capabilities like precision guided bombs against small targets will be introduced as well.

Read the full report here​

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Swedish Air Force Gripen and Finnish fighters practiced some impressive missions at the beginning of the Finland-Sweden training event (FSTE) this April.

During the last few years, Swedish Air Force, in partnership with its neighboring countries, has carried out Cross Border Training exercises (CBT) almost every week. All these exercises have acted as a foundation for the FSTE.

The planning for FSTE, an exercise that focuses at carrying out joint training sessions with the NATO countries based in the Baltic region, started a year ago. Participating aircraft at FSTE include eight Swedish Air Force Gripen, along with F/A-18 Hornets from Finland, F-16 from 510 Fighter squadron in Italy and air-refueling aircraft from Mildenhall.

FTSE is a cost-effective training exercise aiming to increase the capability of the participating forces to carry out advanced air operations with other countries.

Read the full story: Med våra närmaste grannar​​

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Selex ES has bagged a Skyward-G Infrared Search and Track (IRST) production contract and a BriteCloud milestone for Gripen E combat aircraft, reports IHS Jane's​.

As a part of this contract, Selex will deliver 60 Skyward-G infrared search-and-track (IRST) systems for Swedish Air Force’s Gripen E combat fighters.

IRST’s sensor sits on top of the nose, just in front of the canopy, and looks forward in a wide sector registering heat emissions from other aircraft, helicopters and from objects on the ground and sea surface. 

Selex ES also announced that it has conducted deployment trials of its BriteCloud expendable active decoy from the Gripen. 

Selex ES will provide 30% of the Gripen E's electronics, with other systems besides the Skyward-G IRST and BriteCloud EAD comprising the ES Raven ES-05 AESA radar, and Mode 5 identification friend-or-foe system, the report says.​

Read the full story here​

Gripen at RIAT 2014

Two Gripen fighters have been confirmed (for air and static display) to participate at Royal International Air Tattoo 2015, one of world's largest military airshows..

The first Royal International Air Tattoo was held at North Weald Airfield in 1971 and was inspired by two air traffic controllers, Paul Bowen and Tim Prince. In 1976, international flying machines debuted in the exercise and over the years, RIAT has emerged as an enormous military event with more than 250 aircraft participating each year. 

RIAT 2015 will be held between 17 and 19 July.

Know more about RIAT here.

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This year, the Swedish Air Force Gripen plays an important role in a number of training events held in the Baltic Sea region, reports Forsvarsmakten.

Baltic Region Training Event – BRTE

The first BRTE was held in 2008. The training exercise focuses on interoperability and cooperation between NATO and Partnership for Peace (PfP) nations like Sweden and Finland.

According to Forsvarsmakten, BRTE has many elements and Sweden is taking part in step exercises that aim to improve the pilot's ability to maneuver Gripen in the presence of different types of aircraft.

Finland-Sweden Training Event

This training event provides a cost-effective support for the training of the fighter pilots of the participating nations. The ongoing training exercise has preplanned mission scenarios which will be most likely performed above the sea.

Arctic Challenge Exercise – ACE

Carried out in cooperation between Finland, Sweden and Norway, Arctic Challenge Exercise (ACE) has evolved from the earlier Swedish exercises - Nordic Air Meet and Cross Border Training. The first ACE was carried out in 2013.

The exercise aims to increase ability to collaborate with other nations to solve tasks in composite joints. It also aims to develop the ability to conduct aerial refueling and improve tactical management of air forces.

ACE 2015 will be held from 25 May to 5 June.

Read the full story: Flygvapnets övningar i Östersjöregionen – vad är vad?

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A Gripen aircraft, modified and loaded with latest software, has landed at FMV's test site in Linköping, reports Fmv.se.

According to the report, new weapons and radar functions are some of the many new features that are being tested with the Gripen C/D system at the test site.

“We are now entering into the final phase of finishing the so-called material system controls. The goal is to deliver this major update of the Gripen system to the Armed Forces as soon as possible, says Robert Noven, test engineer at FMV T & E.

Robert is responsible for testing and evaluation of various components of the MS20 upgrade. He is preparing for air exercises to verify and validate the system before the update is delivered to the Swedish Air Force troops.

According to the FMV report, the new upgrades include new Meteor missile, new weapons, new radar system, GCA (Ground Collision Avoidance System) and enhanced collaboration features like Link 16.

Read the full story: FMV provar ny mjukvara till JAS39

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Once in every two years, Czech Air Force's 21st Tactical Air Base hosts an Open Day at Čáslav airport. This year, the excitement would be triple as the event is combined with celebrations of 10 years of the Czech Gripen programme and the Lion Effort 2015.

As per a report in Letectvi.cz, the event would consist of aerial and static demonstrations and various activities for children. In 2013, Open Day had 50,000 visitors, and this year, more number of visitors are expected.

Open Day will run parallel with the Lion Effort 2015 which will be held between 11 and 24 May. Lion Effort is one of the biggest Gripen exercises and it brings various Gripen users together.

For Gripen enthusiasts, Open Day is an important event this year as it provides a unique opportunity to see Gripen fighters from Hungary, Czech Republic, the UK, Sweden, Thailand and South Africa, all at one place.

Open Day is scheduled for 23 May this year.

Know more about the event here​.

TV4.se video throws light on some of the points that will be included in the upcoming bi-lateral cooperation​

In future, there will be an increased degree of interoperability between the Swedish and Finnish air forces, reports Regeringen.se.

As per the final reports on the deepened cooperation between Finland and Sweden, the concrete proposals include joint operations, joint use of air bases and joint combat command capability. 

The advantages of the cooperation between the air forces include improved operational capabilities aiming to increase security in a regional context, flexible use of resources and increased cost-efficiency.

Read the full story: Final reports on deepened defence cooperation between Finland and Sweden​

Video Courtesy:TV4Nyheterna​

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