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Czech air force pilots completed nine sorties against Russian aircraft that violated the airspace of the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, says deputy commander David Schreier in a report inCTK.

These three Baltic States do not have air forces of their own. Various NATO country pilots are appointed to protect their airspace. This year, the Czechoslovak air force took over the mission from the Polish air force in September.

"We have conducted nine sorties that resulted in us providing valuable information for the NATO anti-aircraft defence system, “Commander Martin Pelda said.

Czechs were appointed to protect the Baltic area for the first time in 2009. As compared to that time, they saw an increased number of violations of the airspace during this year's mission. During the whole period of the last mission, they only had eight sorties.

Read the full story: Pilots started nine times to protect the skies over the Baltics

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Kecskemét neighborhood in Hungary saw an amazing sight as the 14 Hungarian Gripens gave a spectacular in flight display last week. 

A news program onRTL Klubshows an extensive report about the Hungarian Gripens in operation. According to Brigadier General Nándor Kilián, it was an unusual formation flight as all the 14 Hungarian Gripens took part in it.

The report explains the importance of the fleet of Hungarian Gripens and also mentions several successful Alpha Alerts of the past few weeks (4 successful alerts in 60 days). 

Various TV reporters and journalists got the opportunity to watch the historic moment from the board on an An-26 flying at the altitude of 4000 meters.

According to the leaders present at the event, both the pilots and the Gripens performed well during the maneuvers. 

Watch the extensive report:Patrolling the Sky

Watch another video of the display:Hungarian Air Force JAS-39 Gripen 14 ship formation flyby over LHKE

Photo Courtesy: TOPIDOC

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A video of the Czech defence forces captures theBaltic air-policing missionof the Czech Air Force. The mission is a NATO air defence Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) to guard the airspace over the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.Within the Alliance, preserving airspace integrity is conducted as a collective task using fighter aircraft for Air Policing. Air Policing is a purely defensive mission. The Air Force of the Czech republic guarded Baltic states in 2009 and 2012 with JAS-39C Gripen jets.

​Bulgaria’s Defence Minister Anyu Angelov says that Bulgaria will need to buy eight new or used fighter jets for its air force in 2014, and that it might consider Gripen, reportsTengri News.

The purchase of new fighter aircraft has been delayed by Bulgaria till now because of financial constraints. The report says that Angelov rules out the purchase of jets from EADS or Lockheed Martin due to price issues but confirms that there is a possibility of considering Gripen.

"The possibility to buy new Gripen jets is still standing however and will be reviewed on an equal footing with the rest of the second-hand offers," Anyu Angelov says.

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When the Royal Thai Air Force, RTAF, decided to publish a book that celebrates its 100 years of flying (1912-2012), they hired world class military aviation photographer Katsuhiko Tokunaga.

Tokunaga spent several weeks in Thailand this year flying with the RTAF aircraft, from old workhorses like C-130 to the brand new Gripen, shooting spectacular air-to-air photos and equally great pictures of men and machines on the tarmac at RTAF Wings all over the kingdom.

The result is a high quality paper photography book spanning over 176 large pages, with bilingual captions in Thai and English. And yes, there are plenty of great Gripen shots in this volume! 

Book facts: ISBN 9749752511, 176 colour pages measuring 300 x 220 mm. Book comes in hard box. Total weight 1.5 kilo.The book is sold at THB 895 in Asia Books stores in major Thai cities as well as online for slightly less from Asia Books, linkwww.asiabooks.com

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Gripen users from South Africa, Hungary, Czech Republic, Sweden and Thailand came together to share their experiences of operational use of the supersonic fighters at the recently held Gripen conference in Czech Republic, says a news report inDefence Aerospace.

Representatives of the five countries discussed operational issues and maintenance, logistics and safety issues in the use of the Gripen and shared their varied knowledge with each other. The final document of the Conference called "Action List" represents a set of shared knowledge, information and the "know-how" for effective operational use of the aircraft.

"Individual users accumulate different experiences in operating these aircraft, for example, due to different climatic conditions. We share different experiences and information during the conference and found that some of them are very similar. After the evaluation, we can be better prepared for the challenges ahead, “says Czech Gripen pilot, Maj. Petr Michenka.

According to Maj. Michenka, one of the frequently discussed topics at the conference was that of "Aircraft Cross Servicing", which means situations in which a pilot would be able to prepare and leave an airport that does not have the appropriate technical support for the Gripen.

The Gripen User Group conference is held twice a year.

Photo Courtesy: Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic

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The first days of the Czech Air Force policing of the air space of the three Baltic states – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – has been characterised by increased flight activity, says a news report in Czech Armywebsite.

The report also says that the QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) Gripen fighters succeeded in all cases; there were four starts against the violators of the air space already. As per the orders from the Combined Air Operations Centre in Uedem, North Germany, two Gripens always took off within the planned 15 minutes.

“We have chosen six Gripen aircrafts for the mission, out of which four are permanently deployed in Šiauliai. The aircrafts received a special anti-rust treatment and have been tested consequently in order to make completely sure that they are fully operational. We are ready for potential defects as we have brought several sets of tools with us, “says Major Radomír Holuša, deputy commander of the engineering air service of the 211th Tactical Wing.

Read the full story:  ALFA Already Made The Gripens Take Off Four Times

​Air Chief Marshal Prachin Jantong who became Thailand’s 22nd air force commander last month says he aims to make the Royal Thai Air Force, ASEAN’s top air force in the next two years, says a news report inBangkok Post.

"We anticipate the air force will have a leading position in the region within two years," ACM Prachin said.

The new Saab 340 AEW airborne early warning aircraft has already arrived in Thailand and an RBS-15 anti-ship missile system has also been installed. ACM Prachin said that the second phase of the Gripen project would start from next year with the arrival of three aircraft in April.  All 12 Gripens would be in position by 2014.

The Commander also added that he will work with the government through the Defence Ministry and the Supreme Commander. He emphasizes that the next important task is to repair the air force base Don Muang in Bagnkok, which has been damaged due to floods last year.

Read the full story: Prachin takes helm, aims for No.1 in Asean​​

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Also known as the 'Flying Cheetahs', the South African Air Force (SAAF) 2 Squadron, now based at AFB Makhado was first formed at Waterkloof in 1939 and re-formed in Kenya in 1940.

Gripen became a part of the SAAF Squadron 2 in April 2008. SAAF completed its fleet with the delivery of its final four Gripen C single seaters in September this year. The squadron operates all the SAAF's Gripens except the first Gripen D, which has been assigned to the Test Flight and Development Centre at AFB Overberg.

Watch the Gripen fly on a low level sortie mission:SAAF 2 Squadron - SAAB Gripen - 'The Flying Cheetahs'

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“It was an existential experience,” says Carina Brorman, Communications Director, Saab after flying the Gripen last week, reports Swedish magazineResume.

Carina Brorman told the Resume that she flew the Gripen to increase her own understanding of the aircraft.

“It's indescribable. The coolest experience of this kind that I've been through. During the years I have tried some different things in order to understand the incredibly complex products that we have. But to fly the Gripen tops everything,” she said.

When Resume asked if she saw the plane any differently now, Carina said that Gripen has certain abilities that makes it a favorite among pilots. It is easy to maneuver and perform advanced movements and missions and she understands it better now after having experienced flying 20 meters above the water and then, barely 30 seconds later, to be up at about 9000 meters.

Read the full story: An Existential Experience​
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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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