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eight.jpgPeter Nilsson, Vice President, Operational Capabilities at Gripen Marketing is very pleased with the new Gripen programme. He calls the Gripen NG as the ‘big stick’ fighter in a tight suit. In a Q&A for India, Peter talks about the Gripen IN and its promise.

Could you tell us something of the background of the new bigger version Gripen?

With more than 130,000 flying hours in five air forces we are now taking  the next step in the Gripen story. We are  keeping its unique capabilities such as short T/O and landing capabilities, extreme agility, digital cockpit, operational data links, minimized logistics and easy maintenance concept, and repackaging them into a brand new fighter.

What do you mean by saying “a ‘big stick’ fighter in a tight suit”?

We are putting in a new stronger engine in a newly designed structure. We are fitting the fighter with the latest technologies in terms of computer and avionics to support the next generation of sensors and weapons.

peter.JPGWhat does the Gripen IN offer?

For a large nation’s air forces, air operations demand longer range, endurance and payloads. The Gripen IN will certainly not disappoint them. With operational ranges and radius of action longer than our bigger competitors with equal number of weapon stations, it makes the new Gripen a ‘big stick’ fighter in a tight suit.

Why will the new Gripen be a success in the future battle arena?

With a balanced design, strategic reach, enhanced awareness and increased firepower, the ...

Silver_Falcons.jpgThe South African Air Force’s Silver Falcons display team will be wowing the crowd at the opening ceremony of the FIFA 2010 soccer World Cup alongside 2 Squadron flying the country’s premier fighter, the Saab Gripen.

“The SAAF will be taking part at the opening ceremony … and the world at large will witness a combined display from Silver Falcons and the newly acquired high-tech fighter jets – the Gripens,” the military says in a statement. “The SAAF is proud to be part of this event as it will contribute to a safe and secure event.”

The Silver Falcons operate the Pilatus PC7 MkII Astra.

The SAAF is playing a major role in safeguarding the month-long event and has deployed mobile radar as well as the Gripen, the BAE Systems Hawk Mk 120 light fighter, Astra and Agusta A109 light utility helicopter to enforce no fly zones around participating sports stadiums. Denel Oryx helicopters as well as Casa and Lockheed Martin C130 Hercules transports are on standby to provide airlift to police and special forces safeguarding the soccer spectacular.

One of the high points of the hours-long opening ceremonies for the 2010 FIFA World Cup is a fly past by the South African Air Force (SAAF), involving the Silver Falcons aerobatic team and three Gripen multi-role fighters.

SAAF Brigadier General Marthie Visser told Digital Journal that anyone who missed the air display would miss “a good show.” In a media release sent to journalists, the Department of Defence ...

GripenWorldCup454.jpgSouth Africa’s growing fleet of state-of-the-art multi-role Gripen fighters will be deployed in air patrols over Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Rustenburg, Polokwane and Nelspruit, which are hosting games, says a Saab Press Release.

The South African Air Force’s Gripens are stationed at 2 Squadron, at AFB Makhado in the Limpopo province. The aircraft were successfully deployed on airspace patrol missions during last year’s FIFA Confederation Cup soccer tournament, a curtain-raiser for this year’s main event. In addition, they have also participated in peace enforcement exercises.

In an earlier report, the Air Chief had laid out the SAAF gameplan for the World Cup. “The focus is on ensuring the airspace is safe”, Chief of the Air Force, Lt Gen Carlo Gagiano, has told defenceWeb. “We have a mix of aircraft because a helicopter cannot take on an airliner that’s diverting from its flight path. The light aircraft will intercept and order mavericks out of (no fly) areas, but if things look bad then you’ll have to send fighters.”

In order to prepare the SAAF and local civilian airspace users, the SAAF and the police held a number of exercises at each of the nine venues, under Exercise Shield. Gagiano says a further exercise is being planned. He adds “we must still negotiate for a little bit of additional funding because the air force will have the largest contingent (from the SANDF) deployed during the Soccer World Cup”.

The SAAF contingent, numbering around 2500 ...

Four new Gripen C advanced light fighters that arrived via ship from Sweden last week departed AFB Ysterplaat, reports Dean Wingrin writing in his unofficial SAAF website.

The single seat aircraft, serials 3912 to 3915, had been towed the 8km from the harbour to AFB Ysterplaat on Thursday and Friday last week. The aircraft spent the week at the Cape Town airbase being made flight ready and had conducted several flight tests, to the delight of local aviation enthusiasts.

The Gripen will play a key part in the air force’s plans to safeguard the airspace above the stadiums during the 2010 Soccer World Cup. The first match of the World Cup is on 11 June, so it is thought that the two Gripens which left for AFB Overberg will be used to keep the skies clear of Cape Town.

The SAAF received an additional four new Gripen C fighter aircraft last week, according to a report in an unofficial website on the South African Airforce.

Arriving on board the cargo vessel Achtergracht (registered in Amsterdam) on Thursday last, the four aircraft were offloaded in Table Bay Harbour this morning. They had been loaded onboard the vessel at the port of Norrkoping in Sweden.

The single seat aircraft, serials 3912 to 3915, were then towed the 8km from the harbour to AFB Ysterplaat in two convoys of two aircraft each. They will be made ready for flight at the airforce base prior to departure.

With all nine dual-seat Gripen D aircraft already delivered, these four aircraft will join the first two Gripen Cs that arrived on 11 February this year. The Gripen will play a key part in the air force’s plans to safeguard the airspace above the stadiums during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

The original order was for nine Gripen D dual-seat and 19 Gripen C single-seat aircraft. However, the order was revised in 2005 to nine dual-seat and seventeen single-seat aircraft. The first instrumented Gripen D was delivered in April 2008 and is based at the SAAF’s Test flight and Development Centre near Bredasdorp in the southern Cape. The balance of the aircraft is assigned to 2 Squadron at AFB Makhado in the Limpopo province.

gripen_demo.jpgSaab has received an order from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) to develop an avionics system for the Swedish Armed Forces’ Gripen aircraft. The order value amounts to MSEK 450, divided over 2 years, according to a Saab Press Release.

The order means that work will begin on a new avionics system, including new computers and displays, which will enter into service 10 years from now.

“Gripen is under continuous development. Computers with the best performance possible today will be viewed as inadequate for the tasks facing Gripen in ten years, when the aircraft must remain modern for a further twenty years. Few high-tech products have a service life as long as Gripen,” says Lennart Sindahl, Vice President at Saab and head of the Aeronautics business area.

The new avionics system will enhance Gripen’s capacity to handle large quantities of complex information with different security classification levels. A new avionics system also makes it possible in the future to introduce new sensors that require altered system architecture.

Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions ranging from military defence to civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents and constantly develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs.

three.jpgThe flight to India and back for participation in the MMRCA trials was a milestone for the Gripen Demo. As one member of the Military Photos forum reported, “A good day at work” was what a Saab employee working on the Gripen project said about the flight to Leh.

Vishnu Som, Associate Editor and Senior Anchor and NDTV, an Indian News Channel, and one of the Indian journalists to have flown the Gripen reported in his forum post:

“She landed in Leh. Switched off. Restarted 2 hours later as required after the team had a light lunch. She took off with 2 Iris T, and 1600 kgs in the centre drop tank plus full internal fuel.
Performance tests were conducted in Adampur. No problems. Indian Air Force pilots flew rear seat.
Gripen team basically said they would do whatever they were asked to do by the Indian Air Force. The flight down from Sweden also worked flawlessly. Remember … this is a highly evolved prototype … but a prototype nonetheless so there were clear risks for the Gripen team to be willing to fly this down. Whats been achieved is truly impressive. Not sure if she supercruised in India though IAF pilots did supercruise in Sweden where they flew her quite extensively.”

Saab in its official press release reported as much: Last week the Gripen NG demo was making its International debut by taking part in the last phase of the Indian evaluation trials for the ...


The Gripen Demo made its longest trip to date when it landed in Jamnagar on Monday May 17 after a carefully monitored series of hopping flights from Sweden to participate in the Indian Airforce’s MMRCA field evaluation trials.

The aircraft was taking part in a series of exercises, which included an early morning flight to Leh and trials at the Adampur air base. According to reports, the Gripen Demo made a perfect touch down, waited for a cool down of engines, made a smooth cold start and was off without a hiccup.

The Gripen Demo was not a part of the earlier round in India when two Gripen Ds went through a series of evaluation exercises.

The Indian Air Force evaluation team is among the first non-Swedish pilots to fly the Gripen Demo from the front cockpit. The IAF team has done a larger envelope of flying with the technology demonstrator of the Next Generation of Gripen in Sweden. The Gripen Demo was flown with a fully operational AESA radar.The Demo being a technology demonstrator, the aircraft is far more valuable given that it carries cutting edge next generation platforms.

To date, Saab has conducted about two dozen flights in India, including in Bangalore’s Aircraft Systems & Testing Establishment (ASTE). Among various exercises, the Gripen Ds also undertook air refueling. In Jaisalmer, the Gripen D did a weapons release test and the very demanding high speed, low level flying in extreme hot conditions. One aircraft was sent to Leh ...

Gripen has said that it will be extending the validity of the bid to the IAF as the date for renewal of bids for the $11 billion dollar contract for 126 aircraft ends today, April 28.

However, other contenders in the Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft tender have given media reason to believe that the costs will change significantly. Bloomberg’s South Asia Political Reporter James Rupert says that there is a possible $1 billion price hike in the offers of other competitors.

The original commercial proposals, submitted in April 2008, were valid for 24 months and the defence ministry was quoted as saying that it has asked companies to submit new offers or extend the validity of their earlier bids by one more year.

Bloomberg and web Journal Stratpost reports that Lockheed-Martin “plans to update its commercial bid to ensure the best possible value to India,”. Boeing is “working to provide a compliant response” to India’s request that it extend its bid.

Stratpost also reports that EADS says it would ‘respond in accordance with the requirements of the Ministry of Defense’ while Dassault has also not made clear if it would be sticking with its existing commercial proposal or revise its value.

The South African Air Force is to fit the fifth-generation A-Darter short-range imaging infra-red air-to-air missile currently under development at Denel Dynamics to its fleet of 24 workhorse BAE Systems Hawk Mk120 lead-in fighter trainers in addition to integrating it on to the 26 more sophisticated Saab Gripen C and D advanced lightweight fighter, reports the South African web journal Defence Web.

Denel Dynamics CE Jan Wessels says the new weapon, under joint development by SA and Brazil since March 2007 is on track and on target for delivery to the SAAF and the Brazilian Air Force from early 2013, now less than three years away. Wessels adds training missiles will be delivered from 2012.

Wessels says the A-Darter has now passed a series of development tests, the latest just last month. The test followed a series of programme flight tests where the missile had to fly a series of pre-determined routes, or circuits, “and it is very extreme, left, right up down, all the difficult manoeuvres. But it doesn’t engage a target. You are exercising its manoeuvrability. Can it pull the G’s etcetera. That was done by February,” Wessels adds.

“In parallel the so-called integration missiles that went to Saab. So they have in Sweden already integrated the missile with the structure of the aircraft, the mechanical integration of the missile with the aircraft and with the avionics, which is very complex on the Gripen. They conducted a series of flight tests where they flew with this ...

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