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The Smart Fighter

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hellsten_photo_1354251491.jpgDr Hans Hellsten, Senior Radar Expert, Product Management/Emerging Products, Saab recently gave a presentation on Low Frequency Airborne Radar Surveillance at the Aero India 2013.Hans is the product manager and principal engineer in Saab's ongoing CARABAS development program. Carabas ground imaging system enables foliage penetration, wide-area surveillance and automatic target detection.

The presentation ‘Low Frequency Airborne Radar Surveillance- Swedish knowledge and Experience’ provided an overview of 20 years of Swedish low frequency airborne radar experience. It explained about low frequency SAR technology and showed examples how this technology has been realized in the various demonstrators.

Detection of stationary targets by airborne sensors would be simple if the targets visibly stand out from a level background. However, it is not always the case. Targets are generally camouflaged cleverly and hence are difficult to get detected.

To counter this issue, Sweden originated in 1985, and has since then led, the development of low frequency SAR. Expertise is built around the CARABAS 1, CARABAS 2 and LORA experimental systems operated by FOI as well as the development at SAAB of dedicated low frequency radar technology.

The basic CARABAS development started around 1985 at the Swedish Defense Research Agency FOI, as a piece of pure research. The positive results of this research motivated Saab Electronic Defence Systems (EDS) to participate in the development. The collaboration between FOI and EDS has been ongoing since 1992.

Recently, Saab EDS concluded studies in low frequency radar applications of buried target detection and moving target detection. The main areas of application are detection of buried mines, weapon caches and tunnels. The main area of application ...


The Next Generation Gripen program is no longer just a demonstration platform; it is a flying test aircraft. In a few weeks time, the Gripen E/F test aircraft will continue it's test period equipped with Infra-Red Search and Track (IRST). During a press meet on the first day of Aero India 2013 in Bangalore, Swedish aerospace and defense company Saab elaborated on the first delivery of the Next Generation Gripen. 

Speaking at the press meet, Head of Air Domain at Saab AB, Robert Bjorklund said, “The first delivery of the E/F Gripen will happen in 2018 for Sweden and Switzerland. While Sweden has decided to order 60 Next Generation Gripens, Switzerland will procure 22 Gripens.” 

Gripen Next Generation will have a variety of weapons which could include IRST-T, Python 45, Meteor and many more. The E/F Gripen is also more efficiently manufactured than the previous C/D version. 

“As the Next Generation Gripen’s engine is bigger (F414G), the aircraft will be more powerful. We also needed an aircraft which could carry more armaments and Gripen E/F will fulfill that expectation. This Gripen version will have increased capabalities in all aspects, said Mr.  Bjorklund.

The Gripen philosophy includes low life cycle cost, full weapon flexibility, best situational awareness, small logistical foot prints and aircraft design that can be upgraded among others. 

Talking about Saab’s export plans in the near future, Robert Bjorklund said that their vision is to supply more than 300 Gripen fighter aircraft to the export markets within ten ...

Eddy de la Motte.jpg

"It is our turn now," says Eddy De La Motte, Head of Gripen export in an interview recently talking about the prospects of Gripen in global markets. Responding to questions on the eve of Aero India, Eddy says that Saab wants to enable India in its aerospace ambitions and believes that the Gripen technologies should be a part of that equation. Here are the excerpts.

How is the Gripen performing in the international market?​

Saab has had a terrific year. The Swedish Parliament voted overwhelmingly for the next generation Gripen, following on the heels of the agreement with the Swiss Government. The Swedish Government has now announced that Sweden will buy 60 Gripen E fighter jets from Saab and has given the approval to Swedish Armed Forces to place a contract with Saab, and we are expecting it early this year. 

Among other milestones from 2012, the extended Gripen lease from Hungary and the delivery of the final aircraft of the South African order are key.

As we see the various opportunities around the world, Saab’s goal is to export at least 300 Gripens within the next ten years. When this objective is achieved, Saab will have 10 percent of the available market. 

There is a real potential to sell 300 Gripen aircraft. It is not unrealistic. Since our new version is more fuel efficient and can carry more cargo than our twin-engine competitors, it has opened up new markets for us. Gripen's low operating cost is a key advantage.

We see an immense interest for ...

The  Air Force Blog says that the Red Flag 2013 went well from a Swedish perspective. The Swedish team completed almost all planned businesses. All the missions were completed with high precision and they were able to effectively defend themselves against hostile air defense. They were able to operate in the dark, collaborated on the L16 and perform tactical AAR.

The Swedish contingent commander, Colonel Anders Segerby said that the experience gathered at the Red Flag is going to be very helpful. "Soon, the data from the mission would be analyzed. The experience gathered at the exercise would be invaluable if the unit is involved in a situation to defend Sweden and also for international efforts like the Libyan Mission in 2011," he said.

Photo Courtesy: Air Force Blog


Aero India 2013 at Bangalore was an occasion for Flight Test Director Ola Rignell and Gripen Top Gun Shashank H R to catch up on the progress of the Gripen NG program and talk about the Gripen. It was also good time to catch up on the two years since Shashank won the coveted Gripen Top Guns contest and took his seat on the magnificient machine.


Gripen7.jpgGripen Top Gun Shashank HR interacting with Ola Rignell, Flight Test Director, Saab

Gripen 8.jpgLeft to Right: Jan-Ake Bramby, Gripen Campaigns, Gripen Export, Aeronautics, Joanna Sjolander, Marketing Director, Aeronautics​, Robert Bjorklund, Vice President, Head of Air Domain, Saab, Anna Sverker, Senior Manager, Product Integration, Saab Aerosystem and Ola Rignell, Flight Test Director, Saab​

​Hakan Buskhe, President and CEO of Saab said at the Aero India 2013 yesterday, "India is one of the largest market for defence and security. We can offer technology transfer and partnership. I believe we have a good future in India." 


“We need to be very efficient for the development of the next version of the Gripen,” says Flight Test Director, Saab, Ola Rignell, at a session on Flight testing of Gripen E - the Next Generation Gripen, at the Aero India 2013 International seminar.

Ola Rignell gave a presentation on the challenges faced during the testing of Gripen E and about finding the technical solutions to overcome them.

Speaking during the technical session, Mr. Rignell said, “Budget of the Swedish defense forces is limited as Sweden is a fairly large country with a small population of about 9 million people, which means that we have to do things differently. To produce an aircraft like Gripen we need to have a grown technology and a competent arena.”

Within the Swedish flight test community; there are three different players: Saab, FMV (the procurement agency) and the Swedish Air Force operational test unit. All the three agencies have worked very closely throughout the Gripen history, but are now to do even better.

“So far, together, we have managed to produce Gripen A/B and Gripen C/D. The C/D version is operational in five different countries. The Gripen A/B became operational in 1995 and by the year 2003, the C/D version became operational,” said Mr. Rignell.

“In the A/B verification, we started off with the five tests of the basic airframe and then we had to continue with the single seat verification. Simultaneously, we started off with the development of the B version. The development ...

Indian Ambassador to Sweden Banashri Bose went to visit Östergötland at the invitation of County Governor Elisabeth Nilsson Harrison where she paid a visit to the SAAB Gripen facility in Linköping as well.

4. Kitted and all set for the flight!.jpg

By Shashank H R

On a cold January morning, I lined up my Gripen on Runway 09 at Yelahanka, slammed the throttle forward to full afterburner power and took it off the ground. After pulling off a few aerobatic manoeuvres in the clear blue sky, I returned for landing. But, hold it right there! All of this was done only in a PC-based flight simulator for the purpose of entering the unprecedented ‘Gripen Top Gun’ contest which was held by the connoisseur of defence and aerospace products, Saab, prior to Aero-India 2011. 

The grand prize for the winner was going to be a flight in one of the world’s most technologically advanced, multi-role combat aircraft, the Gripen. Having been an aircraft enthusiast for years, I had learnt about the outstanding capabilities of the Gripen, witnessed its performance at one of the previous air shows, and considered a flight in the aircraft truly an honour. This is exactly why I wanted to win!

Almost a month later, on a busy, routine day, there came a moment of big surprise; my heart literally skipped a beat after the contest organizers themselves called me for a quick telephonic interview. And on the day that followed, I was informed that I have been selected as one of the five finalists out of the 2500 participants. At this point of time, I was really on cloud nine!!

On 12th of February, the four other potent finalists: Kasmera Shah, Shaival Sheth, Selween Mascarenhas and Chiranth ...

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