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During the cold war, Sweden felt threatened by the Warsaw Pact countries. The country needed an aircraft that could outperform and outmanoeuvre a larger force of advanced fighters.

The north of Sweden is an unforgiving land with long, freezing winters and largely unpopulated areas. It presents a harsh environment to operate an aircraft – yet it was this place that gave birth to Gripen.

Defending these vast areas required a fighter that could perform air-to-air, air-to-surface and reconnaissance missions in a single sortie, without the need to return to base for reconfiguration.

Gripen was also designed to use roads as temporary runways, allowing the Air Force to use logistical flexibility and speed to keep an invading force at bay. Easy maintenance and reconfiguration was also vital, as it would need to be performed by Swedish conscripts with only 10 weeks’ training – usually outdoors in freezing, isolated conditions.

Read the full story here​.


​​​​Last week, Swedish Air Force conducted mobile readiness exercise on a public road in the south western part of Sweden. Guests, from both Sweden and outside the country were invited to watch the exercise.

Video Courtesy: Swedish Air Force

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Gripen E's first test flight will be conducted during the second quarter of this year," says Jerker Ahlqvist head of Gripen programme.

During the annual Gripen seminar yesterday, Jerker explained that Saab’s new work methods with model-based-design is proving to be very successful. 

“As we prepare for Gripen E’s first test flight, we see that any software corrections can be easily implemented now. We can quickly make a change and introduce a new software load to the aircraft within days. This is something that previously took weeks or even months to undergo. It gives us the confidence that we are on the right track and the programme will run as per the schedule,” he said.

Saab is building two more test aircraft which are at various stages of production. Aircraft 39-8 is currently in ground test. The second test aircraft has entered the stage of final assembly.

About Gripen M, Jerker said that it is at a conceptual stage. “We are working with Brazilian engineers on a concept study of Gripen M. We are also in the process of responding to an RFI from India. We believe that Gripen M has good potential and can hopefully turn into a full development programme at a later stage.”

Jerker presented the Gripen seminar along with Richard Smith, Head of Marketing, Gripen, who gave an overview of the position of Gripen in the market today.

"The market looks optimistic for Gripen right now, and it comes down to getting ink on paper," Richard ...

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Lovisa Sandelin from Ludvika, Central Sweden, is the first woman to graduate as a SwAF fighter pilot since 2004. She has graduated from the aviation school in Linköping, Southern Sweden, along with 22 other students and they have a few more years of training to undergo until, eventually, they have the skills to fly the Gripen fighter. 

Sandelin isn’t focused on the attention she has received due to her gender. “I see it more as something personal. Getting my pilot’s wings is a big milestone for me just as my male colleagues see it is a big milestone in their lives, so I maybe don’t focus so much on the fact that I’m a woman,” she says. She also pointed out that it is imperative for more women to apply and join the Swedish Armed and Air Forces.

Until the early 1990s, women were not qualified to become fighter pilots. This has changed over the years with many countries lifting this ban one after another. Typically perceived as a male-oriented job, the profession has seen very few women applying.

“Public perception of the profession being a typically male one could be an explanation for why so few women opt to become fighter pilots in Sweden,” says Swedish Air Force’s Air Combat School Mats Juhlander.

"But it isn’t. The Armed Forces opened as an occupation for both sexes in 1989,” he adds.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​

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Preparations are in full swing for the Swedish Armed Forces exercise Aurora this September. All Swedish air wings will participate. The big difference from last year’s exercise is that all levels within the armed forces will participate. Instead of deputed staff and units like in earlier air force exercises, actual staff manning military units will practice together. It’s a big difference and similar to the exercises for building Swedish Armed Forces’ combined capability.

During Aurora 17, the air force will take on both sea and ground targets in operations such as coastal defence where all military units have to coordinate their actions. There will be a lot of airborne action with all available flying resources during the exercise. Apart from Gripen, the exercise would see extensive deployment of air transport and helicopters to support the Army and the Navy.

To get as much as possible out of the exercise and to test Swedish defence capability against a larger opponent, foreign air force units, including those from Finland, will engage as opposing forces as well as be partners in the defence of Sweden. Apart from the Finnish Air Force, units from other countries are expected to participate.

Read the full story here.

Photo Courtesy: Swedish Armed Forces

Flight data, track data and night vision.

The Swedish Air Force have ordered  the advanced helmet mounted display system, Targo for their Gripen E fighter aircraft. Pilots equipped with Targo will be able to better locate, track and identify targets, both day and night.

Read more about the Helmet Mounted Display system here​.​

The upgrade known in Swedish term as MS20 involves a whole series of improvements and new functionality, both in terms of the aircraft itself and the ancillary support and training systems.​ Saab knows that its customers need a reliable, affordable and available fighter, against all threats, today and tomorrow. And that is why it makes Gripen. 

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Canadian company Héroux-Devtek has been awarded a contract to deliver landing gear systems for Gripen E fighters, reports UPI.

“Héroux-Devtek is proud to further enhance its long-standing relationship with Saab. Our U.K. operations have designed and manufactured landing gear systems for previous variants of the Gripen aircraft and this new contract acknowledges their expertise on an important program," said Martin Brassard, Vice-President and CEO of Héroux-Devtek.

Héroux-Devtek will manufacture, assemble and deliver complete landing gear systems for the 96 Gripen E fighters being developed for the Swedish and the Brazilian Air Force.

There has been a great interest in Gripen ever since Brazil announced its decision to acquire 36 Swedish fighters. The aircraft is being considered by several other countries and this contract also has an option for Saab to award the manufacturing of additional complete landing gear systems to Héroux-Devtek.

The deliveries of the landing gear systems are expected to begin next year.

Read the full story here.

The traditional Christmas tree formation flight was conducted yesterday by Skaraborg air wing F7 with 12 Gripen. This is both a nice tradition that is followed every year and also a good exercise for the pilots flying in formation in such a big numbers. 

Next week air wing F17 in Ronneby and F 21 in Luleå, as well as the Air Force Flight School plan to fly their Christmas tree formation too.

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