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Pitch Black 2014 RTAF.jpg

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has dispatched six of its twelve Gripen fighter aircraft to Pitch Black 2014 in Australia, beginning 1 August and ending 22 August, held in a vast area in Northern Australia with Royal Australia Air Force (RAAF) Base Tindal as the main base together with RAAF Base Darwin. 

All six RTAF Gripen left their base Wing 7 at Surat Thani on July 29 with scheduled stops in Singapore and Bali before their arrival at RAAF Base Darwin on July 30. 

Seven countries are taking part in the exercise; the host RAAF, Royal New Zealand Air Force, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), the United States Air Force(USAF), RTAF, United Arab Emirates Air Force and the French Armed Forces in New Caledonia.

Over 110 aircraft are participating in the exercise. The RTAF Gripen are joined by F-18 A Hornet and F-18 F Super Hornet from RAAF, F/A 16 from USAF, F-16 Falcon and F-15 SG Eagle from RSAF and Mirage 2000-9 from the United Arab Emirates Air Force. 

Besides fighter aircraft, several support aircraft like the KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-30 Multirole Tanker also play important roles at Pitch Black. 

During the exercise, participants will conduct Offensive Counter Air and Defensive Counter Air missions, launched from RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal. Exercise participants will utilise the Delamere Range Facility and Bradshaw Field Training Area.

Mission scenarios will progressively become larger and more complicated through the course of the Exercise, requiring mission commanders to factor in a variety of air combat roles.

You can read more about the exercise at its official website here​.

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Sometimes we all take the simple things in life, like our Monday morning routine, for granted. But when you think of it, a boring Monday morning could mean everything is as it should be. Normal. Safe.

In today’s complex and turbulent world, Saab is constantly working to anticipate and respond, to keep you and your society safe. All week long. Our way of thinking protects your way of life.

Actor in this movie is Jakob, a Gripen pilot at Saab. In his world, a boring Monday morning means that the world is doing all right, it’s safe. He makes it his job to keep these mornings rituals the way they are, and he just so happens do it at 1000 miles per hour.​​

Pilot2.jpgPilots have their own set of jargons and expressions. Here are some of the common terms used by top guns.

Hands On Throttle And Stick

Modern fighters have every imaginable control function mounted on either the stick (right hand) or the throttle quadrant (left hand), so that the pilot need not fumble around in the cockpit.

Head-Up Display

A transparent screen mounted on the dashboard on which pertinent data from flight instruments and weapons systems are projected. The HUD eliminates the need to look down into the cockpit to read instruments.

Identification Friend or Foe

An electronic means of identifying aircraft, part of the military's transponder system that tells other jets and ground crews if a dude is a good guy or a bad guy.

Read the full story to learn more about the lingo: Pilot Language​

Gripen pilot3.jpgIt's not just that today's fighter pilots are more skilled and can do more tasks, it takes more knowledge, says Carl-Fredrik Edström, division manager at the 212th fighter division at F 21, in a Forsvarsmakten​ report. 

In the 1990s, it was completely different times. While one pilot was a fighter pilot, another was attack or reconnaissance pilot. Today it is more complex. A Gripen pilot must be capable of undertaking all the roles - fighter, attack and reconnaissance - both in a national and in an international context.

Today's advanced and efficient Gripen system requires a pilot to have a wider range of skills and be well prepared for the tasks to be performed. For example, to manage all systems and sensors, pilots must have a wider range of skills in all roles, explains Edström.

Edström who has flown Viggen in the 90s, says that the way pilots fly a fighter aircraft now is different from before. “In the 90s, I used to sit in the plane and fly, getting information continuously during the mission. I can fly in the same fashion today, but then, I would not be extracting the maximum capability out of the Gripen system,” he says.

Today, a pilot sits with a thick block on his knees that is filled with information to carry out the mission. Even the smallest detail is co-ordinated. Today, the threat is higher and the excercises are more complex. The pilots also need to interact with air, naval and ground forces. ...

Gripen4.jpgGripen E represents that rarest of capability improvements, one that does not come with a correspondingly hefty price tag, says Angad Singh in an exclusive report on the fighter aircraft which featured as the cover story “The Gripen Forges Ahead In Super Mode“ for the May-June issue of Vayu magazine.​.

Gripen E development, right from the start has been focused on producing an aircraft that combines high performance and low cost. For example, GE F414 engine, with its high performance and reliability was the obvious choice for the new generation aircraft. Also, sensor development for Gripen E focuses on leveraging a mix of innovative solutions and proven technologies which eventually keep the cost down.

Gripen E would have sensors that are enhanced, not just in comparison to its earlier variants, but also to contemporary fighters worldwide. It would also feature GaN-based EW suite that provides tremendous situational awareness and BriteCloud which is an onboard active decoy from Selex.

All this, according to the report, results in an aircraft that looks much the same – and feels much the same – but brings a quantum leap in performance and combat ability to the type.

Saab has not only drawn on its experience from the Gripen A/B to C/D conversion programme, but also on industry best practices acquired from manufacturing work done for Airbus and Boeing commercial products.

More emphasis on pre-production design work has led to reduced parts count for the new airframe, and shorter component manufacturing times, making each aircraft less ...

become-pilot-large-x2.pngGripen pilots operate in some of the most dangerous parts of the world – and they have to be the best. For every flight they need to wear specialised clothing and carry equipment that protects them and helps them to complete their mission.

Saab is offering you the chance to find out what it takes to enter the cockpit by dressing your own pilot – you’ll even get the chance to see what you look like as a Gripen fighter pilot and share the image with your friends.

To start, click here.​

_SKA9604 copy.jpgThe joint Parliament and the Swedish Government Committee on Defence Policy's chairman Cecilia Widegren announced at a press conference that the number of Gripen Sweden intends to order has increased from 60 to 70 as per a new proposal, reports Expressen.

According to Widegren, besides the number of Gripen, the number of submarines has also been increased to five in the new proposal. 

The Defence also wants the Swedish combat units to be more accessible and the Swedish Navy to be more active in the Baltic Sea. The new proposal aims to increase the cooperation with other countries and organizations like UN and NATO.

The proposal will be submitted to the government soon.

Read full story: Beredningen vill ha tio nya Gripenplan​

"Everything is designed and tested in the computer. This helps us know what to do and how to do. It gives us the confidence that we work with the right things and we know we are on track without any surprises," says Matti Olsson, Head of Strategic & Business Development Production at Saab.​

Info.jpgGripen E’s customer value lies in the system’s unparalleled operational combat capacity, its balanced design and the fact that the aircraft is built for information sharing. 

Information sharing refers to Gripen pilots’ access to information, gathered and analysed within their own group, giving pilots on the ground access to the same information as their airborne colleagues have. 

Information sharing is an element of the ”information war” – determining where the enemy is while avoiding detection yourself. An increasing number of the world’s air forces have realised that having an information advantage is actually more important than having maximum speed and manoeuvrability. Sweden has a 40-year tradition of developing inter-aircraft information sharing – experience that is gathered in the Gripen E.

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Brazilian firm Embraer will co-develop and co-produce Gripen E fighters, due to be purchased by Brazil, with Saab as per a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two companies recently.

Under this agreement, Embraer will perform a leading role in the overall program performance as well as undertake an extensive share of work in the production and delivery of both the single and two-seat versions of the state-of-the-art Gripen NG aircraft for the Brazilian Air Force.

"We are happy to announce this partnership with Embraer. Not only do we share experience in the defense and aeronautical markets, but both organizations have a clear dedication to customer satisfaction. Through this partnership we will secure an excellent result for the Brazilian Air Force and we will establish solid ground for success with future business opportunities and customers," says Hakan Buskhe, Saab's president and CEO.

“The deal is part of a really strong technology transfer package. The plan will see Brazilian firm Embraer handle most of the development on a two seater Gripen F for the Brazilian airforce,” Buskhe said at the Farnborough International Airshow recently.

Embraer is a leading Brazilian aeronautical company based in Sao Paulo that produces commercial, military, executive and agricultural aircraft. The 40 year old company has been involved with design, development, manufacturing, sales and technical support for commercial, agricultural and executive aviation.

Read the full story: Embraer to partner with Saab In Joint Program Management For Brazil's FX2 Project

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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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