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​Flying The Flag

A Swedish Air Force Gripen rides the afterburner climbing rapidly in the sky over its homeland.

Photo: Rich Cooper/COAP Media

​Sweden has been experiencing one of the hottest summers in a long time due to which wildfires have become a common phenomenon all throughout the Arctic circle. 

To control one such forest fire which had spread near the military range in the country, Swedish emergency management authorities took Gripen's help to drop a single 500-pound class GBU 12 bomb. The strong air pressure from the explosion can help extinguish the blaze just like a puff of air can blow out a candle. 

The Gripen fighters flew 3000m above ground, and with high precision, the pilots targeted the front of the line of the fire where they dropped the bomb. Once they hit the target, the 500 pound explosives managed to extinguish the flames. 

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Passing through 

Who needs an airstrip when a public road can do the job? Gripen is tailor-made for short take off and landings like this example from exercise Aurora 17, Sweden.

Photo: Per Kustvik

To download the calendar, click here.

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Natural predator

The Swedish Air Force Gripen in a summer flight over its natural habitat – Sweden’s unique lakes and forests.

Photo: Rich Cooper/COAP Media

1.jpg2.jpg3.jpg4.jpg The 172nd Squadron of the Swedish Air force participated in an air combat exercise last week, over the Baltic Sea with the French Air force (Armée de l'air française). SwAF deployed four Gripen fighters from Ronneby, Sweden while the French started with two Mirage 2000-5 from the Ämari Air Base in Estonia.

The exercise was conducted in line with the Finnish-Swedish Training Event – the Swedish government’s understanding with countries surrounding the Baltic Sea to strengthen security cooperation. Over the years, the two countries have participated in a series of drills with the air forces of the NATO members temporarily present in the Baltic states, as part of FSTE. Exercises like this are a great opportunity for pilots to train with different fighters and develop interoperability. 

Photo:

ZipLip

172sqn Gators

Swedish Air Force

The five-day Swedish Air Force Exercise, AFX18, came to an end on May 30th at the Ämari Air Base near Tallinn, in Estonia. Eight Gripen fighters from the F7 Wing of the Swedish Air Force were deployed. Along with the hosting nations, Estonia and Sweden, the air forces of Finland, France and Spain also took part in the aerial exercises over the Baltic Sea in the air space shared between Estonia and Sweden. 

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The primary purpose of training was to put pilots through simulated air combat situations. This time around, the difficulty level of the exercise was upped a notch. The aircraft tried out new tactics and manoeuvres during the air combat exercises while refining processes and methodologies tested in previous exercises. 

The ground team in Ämari Air Base worked day and night to keep the aerial exercises up and running. The Swedish team collaborated with their Estonian colleagues and were in charge of the safety of the aircraft and the airport perimeter.​

Read the full story here

Image Courtesy: Swedish Armed Forces 

​SwAF Gripen pilots trained for night flying recently. This training is conducted every few months by the Swedish Air Force.

Flying a fighter aircraft at night is a different experience for pilots, as they have to be much more aware of their surroundings in low light. The goal of exercises like this is to increase the combat readiness of the SwAF Gripen fighters.​​

​General Micael Bydén, Supreme Commander Swedish Armed Forces, elaborates on how the MS20 upgrade has acted as a gamechanger over the Baltic Sea.

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For the first time ever, a Swedish contingent of eight Gripen fighters is in Estonia for an annual Swedish air exercise called AFX18.

These Gripen fighters are currently based at the Ämari Air Base. Flights have been scheduled through the day with aerial exercises mostly happening in the Swedish airspace.

The Estonian Air Force is also participating in the exercise. Commander of the Estonian Air Force, Colonel Riivo Valge said, "This is the first joint exercise between the air forces of Estonia and Sweden after the restoration of Independence. It is definitely an interesting challenge for both parties and it provides an excellent opportunity to practice cooperation with different countries."

Besides Gripen fighters, more than 90 personnel from the Swedish Air wing F 7 Sotenäs are also in Estonia. In addition to Sweden and Estonia, Finland, France and Spain are also taking part in the exercise.

AFX was first held in 2010. The exercise aims to develop high availability of the Swedish fighters and hone the participating pilots' skills to perform in high conflict scenarios for long durations. 

AFX18 will end on 31st May.

Read the full story here

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​

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Saab has recently received an order from Sweden’s Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) for modifications of the existing capabilities in the MS20 upgrade to SwAF Gripen fighters. The order that is valued at SEK 224 million concerns with the upgrade of the Gripen C/D system. 

The improvements will be made on the current MS20-configuration that was rolled out in 2016. It was a revolutionary upgrade that made Gripen the world’s first and only combat aircraft to be operational with the MBDA Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile system. 

The upgrades for this order specifies improvements to the aircraft’s ‘central capabilities’ which will include target acquisition, self-protection, communication and human-machine interaction, as well as a number of key support and training systems.

The MS20 is fundamentally a software upgrade that consists of a host of features – everything from a weapons system to a communication and maintenance system. The most significant ones, besides Meteor BVRAAM, were the integration of  Boeing GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) and the expansion of Gripen’s ISTAR capabilities. Apart from that, the initial upgrade also included the expansion of NATO-compatible data link system Link 16, a communication upgrade called Digital CAS (Close Air Support) and other major and minor enhancements. 

The work for the current updates will take place at Saab's facilities in Gothenburg, Järfälla, Linköping and Arboga, and will be delivered between 2018 and 2020. 

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