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211th tactical squadron at the Caslav Air Base got Lieutenant Colonel Radoslav Matula as its new commander this year.

czech commander_150118.jpgLieutenant Colonel Matula taking over as the commander of the 211th tactical squadron.

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The ceremonial handover was held on 11 January at the 21st tactical air base. During the handover, Matula accepted the ceremonial sword from the hands of the commander of the base, Colonel Petr Tománek.

“I would like to thank Lieutenant Colonel Jaroslav Tomaňa for his guidance,” he said. “Apart from the continuous protection of the Czech airspace, we will also participate in international exercises like NATO Tiger Meet, Sky Avenger, Ample Strike, and Central Hawk. The preparation and planning for Baltic States’ Airspace protection mission will also start this year,” he added.

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To be able to dominate your opponent, one needs to train with the best adversary. Training with world class opponents ensures the squad is ready to take on the most unexpected scenarios during a mission.

Realising the growth of adversary air combat training market, Saab has now launched the Gripen aggressor - the latest derivative of Gripen C. Gripen Aggressor provides an exceptional, dissimilar opponent aircraft system against which pilots will sharpen and refine their combat skills so as to fight and win against an advanced enemy threat.

“There is a major difference in the capabilities provided by the aggressors on the market today and what the need is for the coming years. In order to train as you fight, you need to fly advanced combat tactics against peer and near-peer opponents like the Gripen Aggressor. Essentially world-class pilots need to train against world class opponents and that is the Gripen Aggressor”, says Richard Smith, head of Gripen marketing & sales at Saab.

The full-scale replica of Gripen Aggressor was unveiled at the DSEI exhibition in London last year. Saab is pitching Gripen Aggressor for RAF’s ASDOT (Air Support to Defence Operational Training) programme. One and two-seater Gripen fighters are already being used for the UK Empire Test Pilots’ School training. 

Besides ASDOT, Gripen Aggressor is also Saab's proposed solution for the United States Air Force’s Adversary Air (ADAIR).

Read the full story here​.

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With about a hundred professionals participating in the Brazil's Gripen programme, Akaer, Saab's Brazilian partner, completed a million work hours in the project in 2017.

The Akaer team that works on various Gripen projects, comprises of engineers, human resources and planning personnel, quality management experts, structural designers etc. So far, these professionals have worked on the development of Gripen’s rear and central fuselages and weapon pylons.

One of the participating structures designers, Flavio Teramoto has travelled to Sweden about 10 times so far.  “Being selected to participate on the development of a fighter is alone a huge emotional moment. Signing off on the FX-2 program and being a part of Gripen E’s first flight in Sweden were other special experiences. Now, the big expectation is to see the aircraft in Brazil,” he says.

Akaer, based out of in São José dos Campos in São Paulo, is the first Brazilian company to partner with Saab. The partnership started in the year 2008 with Akaer being contracted to develop parts of Gripen fuselage. In May 2012, Saab took 15% stake in Akaer, and in January 2017, another 10%.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Akaer

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AEL Sistemas launched the first panoramic panel of the Gripen fighter last year, reports Airway.com.

"We are proud to deliver the prototype panel on schedule, helping Saab engineers to move forward with the integration work on the aircraft," says Sérgio Horta, president of AEL.

Saab selected AEL Sistemas (AEL) as a supplier in Brazil two years back for providing wide area display (WAD) and the head-up display (HUD). Both the WAD and HUD development programmes started in January 2015.

The WAD for Brazil’s Gripen NG aircraft is a single intelligent, multi-purpose display system, full-colour, large-screen (19 x 8 in) with continuous image presentation and the state-of-the-art touch-screen controls capability. It is the primary source of all flight and mission information in the cockpit.

Saab and AEl Sistemas have also signed a contract for transfer of technology that focuses on developing human-machine interface (HMI) and workshops for avionics maintenance.

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: AEL Sistemas

What is it like to fly faster than  sound? Listen to one of our test pilots as he describes breaking the sound barrier in Gripen E.​​

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For the first time, a Brazilian delegation attended the Gripen Users Group meeting. 

The Gripen User's Group meeting was held in Prague last month with representatives from all Gripen operating countries like Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa, Sweden, South Africa and Sweden participating.

According to Major-Brigadier Jefson Borges who led the Brazilian delegation at the meeting, Fab will now participate in all Gripen related meetings. "This meeting was a good opportunity to hear from Gripen operators about their experiences, and tactics, logistics, new developments etc.,” he said.

Read the full story here.

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Hungarian Gripen fighters were on a quick reaction alert on New Year's eve after a 747-8 failed to properly contact air traffic control.

The aircraft, with an unspecified number of passengers aboard, came from Slovakia and entered the Hungarian airspace at 10:29 CET. The HuAF Gripen fighters managed to establish contact with the Boeing which then continued on its journey to the Middle East.

Read the full story here.

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Czech Republic’s Defence Minister Karla Šlechtová, who recently assumed office, visited the 21st Tactical Air Force base in Čáslav on December 22, reports denik.cz. She was accompanied by Chief of Staff of Army, General Josef Bečvár and Air Force Commander, General Major Jaromír Šebesta.

During the visit, the minister surveyed the activities at the air base, the technology and the NATO integrated air and missile defence systems. She met with the pilots and crew of the control and operation centre, and discussed in detail the readiness of the Gripen fighters. The minister observed the entire process; from the initial emergency signal to the final take-off of two Gripen aircraft.

The Defence Minister remarked at the end of her visit, “I knew our airspace was well secured, but I'm sure today!”

Read full story here

Image Courtesy: Czech Armed Forces

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Home from home

On the way back from Aero India, Gripen landed at the island of Crete. It was a sought-after stop for the pilots and the snow almost made them feel at home.

Photo: Henrik Paju

 

From Gripen C's series of test flights to Gripen E's first flight at a supersonic speed, here are the highlights of the year 2017.​

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