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​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​

Today Swedish Minster of Defence, Karin Enström, announced that Sweden will buy 60 Gripen E fighter jets from Saab, says a statement issued by Saab.
 
Saab notes that the decision is within the span previously discussed, both by the Government and the Swedish Armed Forces, in order to meet future defence needs in Sweden until 2042.
 
This decision once again shows the broad support both from politicians and authorities for Gripen being the back-bone of Swedish air defence for many years to come. It is also proof that Saab has developed a high technology multi role fighter which answers up to defined needs on the market.
 
FMV has previously said they are expecting a development order for the next generation Gripen in the beginning of 2013. This means that Gripen will be the only next generation fighter which de facto is produced in the western world. This is a proof of strength that shows Saabs high level of innovation and technological competency.
 
We have held continuous and fruitful discussions with relevant authorities. These talks will now continue until there is a formal order in place.

The Swedish government has approved the purchase of 60 new Gripen jet fighters, according to reports in media today.

Defence Minister Karin Enström has told Swedish Television News (SVT) that this is a historic decision.

“We think it is good that the Defence now is permitted to buy the 60 Gripen aircraft. They correspond to the military’s operational needs up until 2042”, she says.

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SAAF’s fighter pilot Blokkies Joubert, who flew a Gripen for the first time in 2001 as a part of an industry technology transfer program talks about some of the features of the modern aircraft in a recent  video.

“The Gripen is easy to fly. Though it is a modern aircraft with lots of complex features, but once things are clear, it is carefree to fly,” Joubert said.

“Gripen is like most of the modern aircraft. It has a fully integrated cockpit, not only in terms of display but also in terms of flight control.  The display gets us flight information, tower information etc. Additionally, we also have an application to look and wherever you look, the display would follow your eyesight and you can use that to designate missiles or to designate weapons,” he added.

Watch Blokkies Joubert talking about Gripen:  Gripen Pilot - Blokkies Joubert - SAAF Saab JAS-39

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The Thai cabinet approved a 3.29 billion Baht budget for the Royal Thai Navy last year to modernise its frigate HTMS Naruesuan´s computer systems and enable it to link up with RTAF Gripens, writes Bangkok Post

The electronic communication systems on the twin frigates “Naresuan -Taksin’ will allow communication between the frigates and Thailand’s JAS-39 Gripens. Early in 2012, the navy had also installed a similar electronic communication system on Royal Narubes vessel to connect with the Gripen’s advanced early warning system, according to ScandAsia.com.
Check out also the video Over The Horizon Legends of Air Power on You Tube on Royal Thai Air Force.​
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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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