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H.E. Mr. Somchai Charanasomboon, Ambassador of Thailand to Sweden, along with Gp.Cpt.Chanon Mungthanya, Defense and Air Force Attaché, and Thai officials from the Royal Thai Embassy came to Linköping recently to pay a visit to the Gripen factory.

According to Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs' website, the top management team at Saab welcomed the ambassador and briefed him about the evolution of Gripen so far. The ambassador and his delegation then visited the production area where they were explained about the high technology that goes into assembling a Gripen aircraft.

Read the full story:  Ambassador visits Gripen fighter aircrafts factory in Linköping

Photo Courtesy:  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdome of Thailand

​Writing about Gripen’s participation at the Red Flag, Keith Rogers of Las Vegas Review Journal ponders why Sweden, an air force from a country with a tradition of neutrality and the home of the Nobel Peace Prize that isn't even a member of the NATO alliance want to train for war. 

It's simple, says Lt. Col. Anders "Handy" Segerby, detachment commander for the 2nd Squadron, 17th Air Base in Blekinge, Sweden. "For us, Red Flag is more in line with if we need to defend Sweden, in case we meet the real enemy."

Lt Col Segerby also says that there is an "interoperable" capability that Sweden's fighter pilots need to have to interact with "protectorate partners" in the international community.

"When I fly in my fighter, I speak English. I use pounds in describing my fuel. I use the American-NATO equivalent way when I want to tell where a target is. And before I have too little fuel, I will use the same expression as an American, or British or French pilot. "So we are interoperable," he said. 

Read the full story:  Wheels up for Red Flag

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Czech JAS-39 Gripen left Šiauliai air base in Latvia on 4 January 2013. This was the end of the Task Force Baltic Air Policing. Airmen from Čáslav have served there since September 2012. Colonel Petr Lanči has given the symbolic key of the Baltic skies to his Danish counterpart on January 3 during a ceremony which closed the Czech mission officially. Representatives of Czech embassy in Latvia, Czech MoD, Latvian AF, MoD of Latvia and Estonia as well as embassies of Denmark, USA and local municipalities took part. 

Czech Deputy Ambassador Oto Weniger talked not only about the high professional level of the Task Force, but also about their role in spreading a good name for the Czech Republic. Commander of Latvian AF general Mažeikis expressed sincere thanks to the contingent and stated that he hopes to see Czech airmen in Latvia soon again. 

Then he welcomed the Danish pilots who came to Latvia for the fourth time. Consequently, he decorated Czech airmen with special NATO medals for foreign Baltic Air Policing mission. Czech pilots did 15 QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) take-offs, so called A-Scrambles within the total of 326 flight hours during 298 flights.

Read the full story: The Czech airmen ended activities in the Baltics​

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Six JAS-39C Gripen aircraft had been selected for the Baltic Air Policing in the beginning of 2012. The main preparation involved a special protective paint due to difference in runway maintenance at Šiauliai air base during winter as compared to Čáslav. As many parts of the Gripen had to be dissembled prior to application of the special anti-corrosion paint (including the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) and the jet engine RM-12) the time required for Technical Service (TS) after 200 flight hours increases significantly.

According to Captain Jan Ďucha, the exchange of the Aircraft Gear Box presented another challenge for the technical staff, as it had to take place during regular operation of the squadron which included the demanding AAR training, exercise in Swedish Vidsel as well as other air shows and exercises.

JAS-39C/D Gripen maintenance is being provided directly by the staff of the 211th tactical squadron of tactical air force which is unusual compared to other CzAF operated aircraft, whose maintenance is handled by specialised technical support units. The 211th squadron takes care of the aircraft until it reaches 800 flight hours; then it is flown to Saab. Efforts focused on preparation for the Baltic mission peaked on August 30, 2012, when the aircraft flew from Čáslav to Šiauliai. The task force were by then fully ready to start fulfilling demanding tasks of its air policing mission on September 1.

Captain Ďucha says that technical staff worked in three teams which enabled the aircraft to be prepared for takeoff ...

​Thailand always celebrates Children´s Day on the second Saturday in January, it fell on the 12th this time. The Royal Thai Air Force is one of the largest Children´s Day organizers with its main event at RTAF HQ at Wing 6 in Bangkok. Air bases all over the Kingdom have their own celebrations as well. 

This year RTAF sent one Gripen fighter from Wing 7 in Surat Thani to perform aerobatics in the skies over Wing 6. One of RTAF´s two SAAB 340 AEW aircraft was parked at the static exhibition of new and old aircraft from RTAF´s inventory. Large crowds of kids and parents attended the sunny Don Muang event. Besides flying machines, they enjoyed entertainment, games and a generous offering of food, drinks, ice cream and sweets provided by vendors and co-organisers. 

From Wing 6

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RTAF´s fighter aircraft is always the main attraction during Children´s Day and kids have to  squeeze in between adults to get a glimpse of the action, here watching an old F-5 fighter being prepared for take off.

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A different angle of a SAAB 340 AEW.

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Spectators behind the wing of a SAAB 340 AEW.

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RTAF Gripen takes a break between its aerobatic shows at Wing 6.

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Reading up lucky draw winners...

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From Gripen´s booth.

From Wing 7

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RTAF Gripen´s home base Wing 7 also arranged a great Children´s Day. Of course with Gripen and SAAB 340 AEW among the aircraft shown. Here Group Captain Jakkrit Thammavichai poses with some kids in front of a Gripen ...

image13-290x300.jpgRed Flag 2013, the high intensity air to air combat exercise has started and after months of preparations, Swedish Gripens finally took off from Nellis yesterday, reports the Air Force Blog.

On Friday, Gripens practiced the first flight in the training area and the Swedish pilots acquainted themselves with the air base, slide areas and alternate aerodromes. On Monday, Sweden participated in a 4-group and did a rotation during the first mission that involved almost 70 to 90 aircraft.

forsvarsmakten quoted Colonel Gabor Nagy, the head F 17, saying “Being offered to exercise with the best and in tough circumstances is something very valuable and the experiences we get from Red Flag is something invaluable for our capability development. My judgment is that after Libya, participating in Red Flag is one of the greatest challenges the Air Force has experienced.”

According to the Air Force Blog, the exercise will continue in the same way until Friday night. Pilots will fly for new goals, under new threats, new political rules, and additional difficulties such as radio interference.

Read the full story: Red Flag 13-2 has started

Anna1.jpg“You don't have to be a man to control an aircraft,” says Sweden's first, and so far the only female fighter pilot Anna Dellham in an interview with the Hungarian Daily Népszabadság.

Anna who first dreamt of becoming a ballet dancer, then a vet and then an engineer says one does not need to be masculine in order to become a pilot.  

“I'm not tough or masculine at all. This is not required in my work. You just have to believe in yourself and feel that you want to achieve something. You also need an inner assurance that you are able to get there. This way of thinking is not determined by your sex, it can develop both in girls and boys. The so-called inner human strength is not closely linked to typical manly behaviour”, she says.

Anna started flying with Saab-105 developed in the 1960s and then she flew the Viggens. According to  Népszabadság, there are many female pilots in the USA. However it is not the same in Europe.  Anna is the second woman pilot to fly Gripen following the South-African flight lieutenant Catherine Labuschagne (who first flew 2 years ago).

According to Anna, large speed can hardly be sensed at high altitudes. The fourth-generation Gripen can fly at 2100 km/h, and beyond. It is only as one descends a bit lower that one feels the landscape rushing past at a horrifying, and yet, captivating speed, she says.

Read the full story:Ballet-Dancing With ...

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After a very successful participation in the Axalp live firing event last October, Gripen was back in Switzerland.

On 17-18 January the Swiss defence procurement authority armasuisse organized presentations of the Armament Program 2012 (AP12) at Emmen Airbase. The focus of the presentation was the Gripen E which has been selected by the Swiss Federal Council to replace the current Swiss fleet of F-5 fighters. 

The Gripen fighter system, represented by the Gripen F Demonstrator and a Gripen C, was presented to Swiss parliamentarians, press and media as well as representatives of Swiss industry. The attendees also got an opportunity to take a close look at the aircraft, fly in the Gripen simulator and of course see the aircraft flying.

During the week, Swiss test pilots from armasuisse and the Swiss Air Force performed several flights, including a display routine.​

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Defence Watch’s guest writer Kyle Meema says in a two part series in Ottawa Citizen that Gripen is best suited for Canada as an alternative to the F-35.

“Saab has three versions of its Gripen fighter jet. Of those models, I propose that Canada procure the “NG” model that is currently in development and scheduled to be introduced in 2017. It is the third generation of the Gripen fighter. Based on the Gripen C/D airframe, the Gripen NG will have new and improved sensor technology, fuel capacity, engine, and potentially thrust vectoring. It is to the Gripen C/D what the F/A-18E/F is to the F/A-18A/B. It is a very capable fighter and the ideal candidate to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s,” Kyle says.

Gripen and the Eurofighter are compatible with all the weapons Canada currently has, the future MBDA Meteor, and every other NATO compatible weapon. Additionally, Gripen NG will expand and improve on its features i.e. it will include the ES-05 Raven AESA radar, an upgrade over the Gripen C/D’s PS-05/A radar.

Both Eurofighter and Gripen are very impressive and capable fighters. Though equal in performance, the cost of the Gripen makes it the clear winner, he says.  

Gripen not only has low initial procurement costs ($60 million per plane as compared to Eurofighter’s $125 million and F-35A’s estimated $107 million per plane by 2017), it also has the least expensive operating costs at approximately $4,700 per flight hour. The Eurofighter costs $18,000 per flight hour and the F-35A costs as high as $21, 000 per flight hour.

Gripen’s overall ...

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On 11 January 2013, the Swedish Gripens which were on their way to the United States to participate in the Red Flag 2013, successfully completed air refueling  over the Atlantic with the help of two KC-10 American aircraft.

According to a post in the  Air Power blog, each KC-10 formed a group with four Gripens as they were crossing the Atlantic. This was the first time that an aerial refueling was done over thousands of miles above the Atlantic Ocean involving Swedish Gripens.

The Swedish Gripen will participate in the Red Flag exercise which would start on 17 January at Nellis AFB in Nevada. Gripens will take part in the exercise along with the U.S. aircraft, Netherlands' F-16s and Singapore's F-16s.

Read the full story: On the way to Red Flag, Swedish Gripen refueling over the Atlantic

Photo:Swedish Armed Forces​

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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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