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Saab has taken to the sky over Dubai with the Gripen fighter appearing at the Dubai Airshow between 12 and16 November 2017, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Dubai Airshow was first held in 1986. It was called The Arab Air then. Over the years, it has grown to be one of the biggest defence events in the world. The previous airshow in 2015 had a participation of 1,103 exhibitors from 63 countries.

"The Dubai Airshow is one of the last few really, really big international airshows," Jonas Hjelm, head of Saab's aeronautics business, says in an interview with Aviation Week. "The reason we took Gripen this year was that it is a gathering place for many of our existing customers, and also, we hope, for our potential future customers from all around the world.”

About the status of the Gripen E programme, Hjelm says, "So far, everything is as per the plan. We're even a little bit ahead. A couple of weeks ago, we flew supersonic for the first time. We're now getting some very good test data out of the program; we also have two more test aircraft that are now in production."

This year, Gripen will be seen in Dubai after an absence of about 12 years. Saab is exhibiting at Stand 540. Two Gripen fighters are at the airshow: one is on static display outside the exhibition hall and the other one is performing aerial display on all days of the ...

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Saab has received an order from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) on behalf of the Swedish Armed Forces to provide support and maintenance services for Gripen C/D in 2018. The order exercises a contractual option within the framework of a previously signed agreement pertaining to performance-based support and maintenance.

The order includes support and maintenance services essential to aviation operations with Gripen. The order encompasses, for example, technical system support and maintenance, publications, spare parts, repairs, ground support equipment and pilot equipment.

Read the full story here.

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It has been two decades since the Gripen fighters entered operational service with the Swedish Air Force. In the last 20 years, SwAF Gripen has undertaken a variety of mission roles including that of air defence, ground attack and reconnaissance.

According to a report in Defesaaereanaval.com, Gripen C/D was developed with interoperability in mind so that the Swedish Air Force could fully participate in joint UN and NATO operations and integrate air forces from other countries. Gripen was also developed to be able to have short take-off and landing (STOL) capabilities. The fighter doesn't always need a runway to land and take-off. It can land and take-off on short, actual roads as well.

Gripen's substantial contribution (which included 650 missions, almost 2,000 flight hours and more than 150,000 reconnaissance photos) to the Libyan mission in 2011 was noted by NATO. Gripen, being compatible with various international equipment, was successfully integrated into all systems during the missions. Recently, in a joint exercise named Ruska, the participating SwAF Gripen were successfully integrated with the air defense system of Finland.  

The first Gripen entered service with the Swedish Air Force in June 1996. In autumn 1997, the first squadron became operational at F7 Såtenäs. Today, SwAF has 72 Gripen C/D fighters in service and has placed 60 Gripen E variants on order.

Read the full story here.

Aurora, one of the main Swedish military exercises, had the Air Force taking on both sea and ground targets this year. Here are some images from the exercise.

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Image Courtesy: Luftstridsskolan and Forsvarsmakten

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Since 1952, Swedish borders have been monitored day and night, all year around. No matter what time it is, Swedish territorial borders are being monitored. All over Sweden, there are radar stations constantly scanning the air and over land and sea.  When needed, the armed forces alert Gripen fighters to identify and intercept foreign aircraft. 

Several units of the Air Force are made up of Gripen fighters. It is the first operational fighter equipped with Beyond-Visual-Range-Air-To-Air-Missile, Meteor. Today, there are three air wings and six divisions equipped with Gripen fighters in the Swedish Air Force. The fighter aircraft has the ability to carry out operations against targets on the ground, in air and over water, with extreme precision, a high degree of flexibility and power. These units also conduct intelligence gathering missions and are always ready to defend Sweden's territory.​

Read full story here​.

Aurora 17, one of the main Swedish military exercises, is underway. About 19,000 personnel are participating in the exercise.

One of the main tasks during the exercise was that of dispersed operations in which Gripen pilots practised take-offs and landings from normal roads.

The exercise is aimed at building a stronger defence and increasing the overall capability of the Air Force to face an attack on Sweden. Military units from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Lithuania, Norway and the USA are also participating in the exercise.

The Swedish Air Force Gripen pilots are working on honing some old skills by practicing Gripen take-offs and landings from normal roads. The skill helps to spread the fighters on multiple locations in the event of an attack.

Gripen is a fighter which was developed keeping in mind the Cold War philosophy, which means it doesn't always need a runway to land and take-off. It can land and take-off on short, actual roads as well. Sweden has military bases that use normal roads that have been strengthened for practicing such exercises.  

According to Flight Attorney General, Brigadier General Gabor Nagy, such exercises are very important. "If a potential opponent attacks our regular flight bases and limits our take-off and landing opportunities, we should be ready with our strategy. So we have developed a concept to increase the areas of operations beyond the regular air bases. What has begun here today is an extension of this strategy, where we will measure road sections so that we can land fighter aircraft with relatively simple means," he says.

Read the full story here.

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21151199_1480166175371968_9152644462323412624_n.jpgThe flying display by Gripenfighters

21191988_1480151408706778_7948279422638542240_n.jpgSix generations of Saab fighter aircraft in flight formation

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Gripen on static display

The (main) Flight Day of Swedish Armed Forces is over. According to Carl-Johan Edström, Wing Commander of F 21, it was a very successful event. "I am impressed with the way my staff has been able to conduct their regular military exercises to increase the military capability along with preparing such an event for the public," he says.

One of the main goals of the event was to present a good mix of fighter aircraft for the visitors - which included many high school students - to see. One of the visitors, named Max Nilsson from Stockholm, experienced the Flight Day for the first time. "I think it's really cool and fun to be here and see the planes. The best part of the day was to see Gripen and Viggen. 

Image Courtesy: Försvarsmakten

Czech International Air Fest (CIAF), the largest airshow in the Czech Republic, will be held on 2nd and 3rd September and Gripen will be one of the main attractions to the event.

The video shows Czech Gripen's performance at CIAF 2016.

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