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Gripen has for the first time undergone a series of test flights with 100% biofuel. This demonstrates that the aircraft can be flown with an alternative fuel and gives valuable knowledge for future possible use of alternative fuel.

“Demonstrating that Gripen can fly with 100% biofuel is an important step in making Gripen future-safe,” says Göran Bengtsson, Director of Research and Technology, Future Business, Aeronautics. “Gaining independence from imports of oil is important from a defence standpoint and opens the way for additional sources of fuel, which creates flexibility. It's naturally also good if we in the long term can contribute to reducing environmental impact from military aviation.”

This was the first time that a single engine fighter flew with 100% biofuel. The flights were conducted with a Gripen D (dualseat) at Saab’s facilities in Linköping and went entirely as planned.

Read the full story here​.​

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During the cold war, Sweden felt threatened by the Warsaw Pact countries. The country needed an aircraft that could outperform and outmanoeuvre a larger force of advanced fighters.

The north of Sweden is an unforgiving land with long, freezing winters and largely unpopulated areas. It presents a harsh environment to operate an aircraft – yet it was this place that gave birth to Gripen.

Defending these vast areas required a fighter that could perform air-to-air, air-to-surface and reconnaissance missions in a single sortie, without the need to return to base for reconfiguration.

Gripen was also designed to use roads as temporary runways, allowing the Air Force to use logistical flexibility and speed to keep an invading force at bay. Easy maintenance and reconfiguration was also vital, as it would need to be performed by Swedish conscripts with only 10 weeks’ training – usually outdoors in freezing, isolated conditions.

Read the full story here​.

At LIMA 2017, an RTAF Gripen Fighter performed aerial displays for the audience. Here are a few images chronicling the performance.

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Getting ready for the flight
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Engineers getting the aircraft ready for the display
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The Malaysian Defence Minister with the RTAF Gripen display team

Photo credit: Richard Cooper @COAPPhoto​​

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It is 10:25 in the morning at Čáslav air base and the sunrays are only just beginning to stream through the morning fog. There is no wind, all one can hear is the whistling sound of two Gripen fighters leaving their hangar. Soon, the whistle turns into a roar as the fighters ascend towards the sky. This is how a typical morning at the air base looks like.

The Czech Republic has been using Gripen system for over ten years to protect its airspace. The country also uses the fighters for NATO missions in countries like Iceland.

"The fighters are on constant standby to identify, escort, and if necessary, fight invasion of Czech airspace. Additionally, they also provide support to civil aviation, including escorting and providing guided landing of civilian aircraft, in case of technical failure or bad weather conditions,” says Jan Ducha, Ground Personnel commanding officer of the Czech Air Force.

Recounting his experience at this year's NATO Tiger Meet exercise in Saragosa, Spain, Jan says that Gripen is very easy to use and requires less staff as compared to other similar aircraft. Other countries participating with other aircraft systems brought up to 25 people per aircraft. To fly a Gripen, one needs only one pilot, one engineer and a mechanic (per aircraft), Jan adds. 

"What use is an aircraft of, if it is in a hangar, waiting for spare parts or if you need so much staff to attend to it ...

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​Major General Mats Helgesson talks about the meteor missile integration to the Swedish Air Force Gripen and why it is an important capability. ​​​

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Gripen E's first test flight will be conducted during the second quarter of this year," says Jerker Ahlqvist, head of Gripen programme.

During the annual Gripen seminar earlier this year, Jerker explained that Saab’s new work methods with model-based-design is proving to be very successful. 

“As we prepare for Gripen E’s first test flight, we see that any software corrections can be easily implemented now. We can quickly make a change and introduce a new software load to the aircraft within days. This is something that previously took weeks or even months to undergo. It gives us the confidence that we are on the right track and the programme will run as per the schedule,” he said.

Saab is building two more test aircraft which are at various stages of production. Aircraft 39-8 is currently in ground test. The second test aircraft has entered the stage of final assembly.

About Gripen M, Jerker said that it is at a conceptual stage. “We are working with Brazilian engineers on a concept study of Gripen M. We are also in the process of responding to an RFI from India. We believe that Gripen M has good potential and can hopefully turn into a full development programme at a later stage.”

Jerker presented the Gripen seminar along with Richard Smith, Head of Marketing, Gripen, who gave an overview of the position of Gripen in the market today.

"The market looks optimistic for ...

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Vayu’s Angad Singh strapped into a Saab Gripen at Aero India 2017, for a ‘hands on’ experience of a lifetime!

“Arm seat,” says a voice in my ear. This is the point of no return, as I head to Yelahanka’s 3-kilometre runway in the rear seat of a Saab Gripen D. I depress the catch that secures the ejection seat arming mechanism and push the switch from the ‘safe’ position to ‘armed.’ This simple action, more than anything in the past ninety-odd minutes, drives home the reality of what is about to happen.

“Seat armed,” I reply, trying my darndest to sound like a fighter pilot. I am not certain I succeeded. 

Waves of heat radiate off the asphalt runway, baked by the midday sun. Holding short to the north side of the runway as we line up are two Tejas LCA trainers, readying to depart after us. Behind us and lined up to the right of the centreline is another two-seat Gripen D. We wait for what seems like an eternity, made worse by the nerves that seem to amplify the discomfort of my g-suit. In reality it was probably only a few seconds from line up to ATC clearance for take-off. My pilot, Saab’s Wing Commander Flying, Hans Einerth, doesn’t waste time or words – he releases the brakes as soon as ATC gives him the word. 

This is not so bad, I think to myself. My anxiety begins to subside ...

What is most important for a fighter pilot? To have more information than the opponent, says Mats Thorbiornson. And that is what makes Gripen unique. 

A former aircraft technician with the Swedish Air Force, Mats Thorbiornson is now a Gripen test pilot. With experience in flying Saab’s Viggen, and around 40 to 50 different kinds of aircraft from the U.S., Russia and France, Mats has tested his mettle when it comes to flying and maintaining fighter aircraft. He was one of the Gripen pilots present at Aero India 2017. 

So how did an aircraft technician become a pilot? On being asked, Mats said that during his tenure in the Swedish Air Force as a technician, he had the opportunity to write the pilot test and he performed well in it. The rest, as they say, is history.

For a man who has been flying Gripen for so long, he says that his favourite part of the Gripen fighter is its versatility as an aircraft. Gripen’s ability to perform air-to-air, and surface-to-air missions makes it a viable multi-role fighter. With just the push of a few buttons, one can switch missions on-board the aircraft.

The ease of flying Gripen is best demonstrated when one gets to manoeuvre the aircraft. As Mats says in another interview with Deccan Herald​, “One feels very safe when doing manoeuvres in a Gripen. You feel absolutely secure when you are flying in low altitude, negotiating a bad weather or while ...

“Are you ready, Jugal?” 

These were the four words that marked the most awaited moment of his life for India Today’s Senior Special Correspondent Jugal R Purohit who got an opportunity to fly Gripen at Aero India 2017.

Jugal flew Gripen alongside Captain Fredrik Barske of the Swedish Air Force, who briefed him about the fighter’s various capabilities: air-to-air attack, air-to-ground attack, reconnaissance, jamming enemy aircraft and networking with friendly fighters to lead a coordinated attack. 

Jugal underwent a series of medical tests including blood profile, urine profile and electrocardiogram (ECG). He also received a backseat briefing to understand the usage of things like ejection seats and get a hang of communication during the flight. Within a few minutes, they pulled up to 20,000 ft, flying at the speed of sound.​

"From looping to barrel roll to split to vertical climb up to 20,000 ft from low level, each of these manoeuvres we underwent made me realise the essence of training," he says.

At the end of the flight, Jugal became the 1,807th member of the Gripen club which consists of a few royals, mostly uniformed personnel and a handful of enthusiasts.

Read the full story here.

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The revolutionary thinking behind the Gripen programme has once more ensured Saab’s delivery of one of the world’s most advanced fighters. Gripen E is a fighter not only fit for purpose today but ready and adaptable for events beyond tomorrow’s horizon.

Gripen, an advanced fighter system

The world renown Gripen project was initially created as a result of a synergy between university, industry and government. Known as the ‘triple helix’ this model has long been employed by Saab to ensure highly sophisticated technological advancement.

Eva Söderström, Head of Industrial Cooperation, explains, "This has existed for many years in Sweden, although at the time it was not known as the ‘Triple Helix’ – it was a model we used: academia, industry and a governmental body. We did this to develop the Gripen program and we did it because it worked."  Söderström makes a simple point that can sometimes get lost when talking of management models "It worked." The Triple Helix is certainly far from a conceptual idea at Saab but rather it is a working method.

Read the full story here.
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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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