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On January 16, Carl-Johan Edstrom took over as the flotilla manager at Norrbotten Wing. In an interview with Forsvarsmakten, the Gripen pilot talks about Nordic Cooperation and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Edstrom’s career as a fighter pilot started in 1990 and six years later he was the Group Manager at 212.stridsflygdivisionen. Since then he has held a number of positions. He was also the Operation Commander of the Swedish air operation over Libya in 2011.

“I am still active as a pilot with flight service on both the Gripen and SK 60. During my career I have flown more than 2500 hours of combat and flight school,” Edstrom says.

According to the new flotilla manager, the biggest challenge is to recruit, train and retain soldiers, civilians and officers for missions. However, he stresses that there are opportunities for the Wing as well.

“There have been major geopolitical changes in our region in recent years. F 21 and the war troops will play a central role in asserting Swedish territorial integrity, safeguarding Swedish interests and promoting safety. Wing's active involvement in the Nordic cooperation contributes to increased security in our region,” Edstrom says.

Read the full interview: Tillbaka till flottiljen – som chef

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Royal Thai Air Force's Air Chief Marshal Trithot Sonchaeng and Women's association paid a visit to the sqaudrons at Wing 7, Surat Thani.

The Air Chief Marshal and the ladies were welcomed at a military airport Squadron 7 on January 7, 2015.

The Royal Thai Air Force has 12 Gripen C/Ds, two Saab 340 Erieye AEW Aircraft and one Saab 340B for training and transport duties. The first Saab 340 Erieye AEW and Saab 340 were delivered in 2010 while the first batch of six Gripen was handed over in early 2011. The other six Gripen fighters were delivered in two batches in 2013.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Rtaf.mil

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Saab has signed a new industrial co-operation agreement with the Malaysian company Defence Technologies Sdn Bhd (Deftech), a wholly owned subsidiary of DRB-HICOM Berhad. The intent is to deepen and broaden the existing relationship between the two companies by adding the Gripen system to their joint planning.

This new agreement between Saab and Deftech outlines planned industrial cooperation which will explore areas of technology transfer and bring further expertise to Malaysia. 

In 2011, the two companies signed an industrial co-operation teaming agreement to collaborate on an airborne early warning and control system. This co-operation was further expanded in March 2013 with the signature of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) covering various technology areas. Today’s agreement brings the partnership between Saab and Deftech to a new level.

Read the full story here.​

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"Sweden is proud to be one of Brazil’s strategic partners and the Gripen deal is a win-win situation for both countries," says Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on his visit to Brazil recently.

As a part of this visit, Löfven went to see the Embraer’s production unit outside Sao Paulo. He also gave a speech at the Swedish-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce in Sao Paulo where he stressed the advantages of investing in and trading with Sweden.

Last year, Embraer and Saab signed a Memorandum of Understanding,  according to which, the former will perform a leading role in the overall programme performance as well as undertake an extensive share of work in the production and delivery of both the single and two-seat versions of the state-of-the-art Gripen NG aircraft for the Brazilian Air Force.

Read the full story: Löfven visits factory due to make Gripen jets

Former air display pilot Martin Hansson has received the F17 Medal of merit in silver for his valuable work, reports Kent Löving of Forsvarsmakten

Hansson was air display pilot between 2007 and 2014. He performed his last Gripen air display at the Danish Air Show 2014, Karup.

“Martin Hansson has made great personal sacrifices as an air display pilot to market the Defense force, Air Force, and F17. He has done it for many years without incidents and in his work has shown proof of independence, humility and inspiration. Martin Hansson has very much personally contributed to the Blekinge wing’s good reputation,” the report adds.

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About flight demonstrations, Hansson said last year that though it is a standard program, sometimes he would add something extra while performing his stunts. 

"A demonstration program includes the most advanced maneuvers that pilots can do with Gripen and it can be mentally tiring," he said.

Read the full story: Uppvisningspilot får förtjänstmedalj

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten

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This year, Hungarian Air Force (HuAF) Gripen pilots will be, for the first time, trained for air-to-air refueling (AAR), reports Legiero.blog.hu.

As per the blog post, HuAF Gripen will patrol the Baltic sky in the second half of 2015 and the first half of 2016. The participating Air Force pilots must be prepared for an AAR while providing air policing duties in 2016. In order to be equipped with the AAR knowledge by that time, the pilots need to be trained this summer.

The details of the training are not available yet, but a Flyvapen C-130 tanker may be used. Last month, Hungarian Air Force Gripen practiced familiarization flights in Estonia in order to get ready for the Baltic mission.

The blogpost adds that though this AAR knowledge is not a must for the Baltic Air Policing in the last 4 month of 2015, but it would provide a lot of flexibility to the service providers.

Read the full story: Idén először tankolnak a levegőben a pumafejes magyar Gripenek​

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Saab's naval version of Gripen E for the Brazilian Navy might be a step closer now, reports Airheads Fly​.

According to the report, the Aviação Naval Brasileira (AvN) may opt to initiate dialogues regarding the development of the naval version of Gripen E, also known as Sea Gripen.

The Sea Gripen is intended for both CATOBAR as well as STOBAR operations. All the sensors, avionics and weapons and the GE 414G of the Gripen NG will be offered in the Sea Gripen. The small logistic footprint, high availability and a smaller, lighter airframe results in significant gains from a maintainability point of view. The Gripen spares inventory is therefore lighter, smaller and adds less to the load of the carrier and it takes fewer personnel to maintain the aircraft.

The Sea Gripen will also have superior sensor fusion abilities, the Selex Raven AESA radar, Infra-Red Search and Track, plus a revolutionary avionics architecture including ultra-fast databuses and Ethernet.  The system can be easily integrated with advanced weapon systems

Read the full story here.​

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Extra maintenance equipment for Gripen fighters are being supplied to the Hungarian Air Force by a Swedish Defense and Security Export Agency, reports UPI.com.

According to the report, the Swedish Defense and Security Export agency did not specify the equipment to be provided, but said the gear will "strengthen Hungary's capacity for taking part in international operations”.

The extra maintenance gear is being provided under a supplementary agreement to a Gripen lease contract that was signed in 2002 and runs until 2026.

It was 2001 when Hungary decided on a lease contract for 14 Gripen aircraft. The decision made Hungary one of the first NATO members to order an advanced, multi-role, latest generation fighter aircraft for national defence tasks as well as for NATO and EU missions. All aircraft were delivered in 2006 and 2007, and all 14 aircraft were in operation with the Hungarian Air Force by the end of 2008.

Read the full story here.

The Royal Thai Air Force, RTAF, arranged its traditional Children´s Day event at Don Mueang Air Force base in Bangkok, January 10th 2015. As always it became an event which attracted a huge crowd of children, parents, aviation fans and even some plane spotters from abroad. 

One main feature during the day was the aerobatic shows by two RTAF Gripen aircraft from Wing 7 in Surat Thani. Several other RTAF aircraft participated in fly-by formations, like the AU-23A Peacemaker which discharged smoke strings in the Thai national flag colours over the crowd. Most aircraft in RTAF´s inventory were exhibited on the tarmac in front of the Wing.

Saab-Avia co-arranged games and Q&A for the kids in its booth. As last year, the three top prizes were flights with the Gripen Simulator at  Avia Satcom HQ just off Don Mueang airport.

Check out the photos:

gripen_6.jpgRTAF Gripen roars as they take off in front of thousands of visitors
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gripen_3.jpgWriting autographs and posing for pictures
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A polite Thai wai for the spectators

image001.jpgCrowd gathers at the Saab-Avia booth
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The lucky winner got a framed Gripen poster
Image Courtesy: Dennis Thern and Wisarut  Tanprasert​ (the bottom two)

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Last year, Czech Air Force Gripen pilots successfully conducted air surveillance and interception missions in Iceland. In an interview with Natoaktual.cz, Czech Gripen pilot and deputy commander of the 211th Tactical Squadron, Lieutenant Milan Nykodym talks about his experience of flying in a country with different terrains and climatic conditions.

“We were very well prepared for the action over Iceland. We were not surprised or caught off guard, a situation that you cannot afford as a military pilot anyway. Perhaps I would admit that I was a bit surprised by the beauty of the scenery that I saw in the country,” Lieutenant Nykodym says.

Czech Air Force pilots flew about 150 hours over Iceland during this mission, chalking off more than a hundred takeoffs from the Keflavík Air Base.

According to Lieutenant Nykodym, the air surveillance in Iceland was a bit different as compared to the Czech Republic. The standard time period between the announcement and take off was different. Also, the fighters were kept in tough shelters so that they were not exposed to harsh weather. 

The climatic conditions and terrains of Iceland gave ample opportunities to the Czech pilots to practice missions with different challenges.

“We got to practice flights over the sea, we searched ships using the onboard radar and worked in an environment of civil air traffic control, and much more,” Lieutenant Nykodym says.

Read the full story: Čeští tygři lovili na Islandu zkušenosti, rekapituluje pilot gripenu​

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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.


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