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Saab has recently received an order from Sweden’s Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) for modifications of the existing capabilities in the MS20 upgrade to SwAF Gripen fighters. The order that is valued at SEK 224 million concerns with the upgrade of the Gripen C/D system. 

The improvements will be made on the current MS20-configuration that was rolled out in 2016. It was a revolutionary upgrade that made Gripen the world’s first and only combat aircraft to be operational with the MBDA Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile system. 

The upgrades for this order specifies improvements to the aircraft’s ‘central capabilities’ which will include target acquisition, self-protection, communication and human-machine interaction, as well as a number of key support and training systems.

The MS20 is fundamentally a software upgrade that consists of a host of features – everything from a weapons system to a communication and maintenance system. The most significant ones, besides Meteor BVRAAM, were the integration of  Boeing GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) and the expansion of Gripen’s ISTAR capabilities. Apart from that, the initial upgrade also included the expansion of NATO-compatible data link system Link 16, a communication upgrade called Digital CAS (Close Air Support) and other major and minor enhancements. 

The work for the current updates will take place at Saab's facilities in Gothenburg, Järfälla, Linköping and Arboga, and will be delivered between 2018 and 2020. 

Read full story here

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"We are preparing for the next phase of flight trials – that is, external stores," said Jonas Hjelm, Head of Saab aeronautics at the recently held Annual Gripen seminar.

So far, all the milestones under the Gripen Brazil programme, like the launch of GDDN and SAM and the first flight of Gripen E, have been right on schedule.

“Since the first prototype's flight debut in June 2017, the programme has remained on track, with recent milestones including achieving supersonic flight,” he added.

The seminar which aims at giving an insight into the fighter, covered important areas like the continuous evolvement of the Gripen C/D platform, progress on cooperation with Brazil, and current and future sales prospects for Gripen.

You can watch the seminar here​.  

Read the full story here.

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"Saab Aeronáutica Montagens (SAM) will be part of Saab's global supply chain. So if we see opportunities, we would want to take part in projects for other products that serve not only markets in Latin America, but the rest of the world as well," said Jonas Hjelm, the global head of the aeronautics division at Saab. 

According to Mr. Hjelm, there are other prospective clients in South America that the facilities at SAM can potentially cater to, such as Colombia, who have reportedly shown a clear interest.

Located at the city of São Bernardo do Campo, in São Paulo state, Saab SAM will play a major role in the production of the next generation fighter jets in Brazil. However, the final assembly of the aircraft will take place at Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN). SAM will initially have 55 engineers and technicians, and by 2024 this number will increase to 200.​

Logistically, SAM is strategically located near Guarulhos International Airport, and is connected by major highways to the aeronautical clusters of Sao Jose dos Campos and Gaviao Peixoto, the city where GDDN is based at.

Read the full story here.

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During last week, Saab participated at the IDEB exhibition in Bratislava, Slovakia, where it presented a Gripen Full Scale Replica of Gripen.

During the exhibition, Saab announced that it will build a Gripen Support Centre in Slovakia if the country selects the NATO-interoperable Gripen multirole supersonic fighter aircraft to replace its aging fleet of Soviet-era MiG29 aircraft.  

According to Jonas Hjelm, Head of Business Area Aeronautics at Saab, the proposed Gripen Support Centre would create and sustain approximately 500 new high-tech jobs. “Slovakia would boost its defence and aerospace industries with the Gripen Support Centre,” he said.

Slovakia currently operates 12 MiG 29s that were upgraded in the year 2005. Its neighbour, the Czech Republic, has been successfully operating a fleet of 14 Gripen fighters for more than a decade now. As per a cooperation plan signed earlier by the two countries, if Slovakia selects Gripen, it will be able to share the cost of maintenance and pilot training with the Czech Republic.

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Commemorating 100 years of the Czechoslovak Air Force, one of the Czech Gripen fighters has got a makeover at the ongoing NATO Tiger Meet.

NATO Tiger Meet 2018 is an opportunity for participating aerial squadrons of NATO countries to get together and showcase their talents in some very challenging exercises. However, it’s not all work and no play; there are numerous customs and traditions involved in the Tiger Meet that make it very interesting. Each year, pilots add exciting decals to their fighters, making it look unique.

For the Czech Gripen, this year’s motif was a little different. Usually, it’s an image or a sketch of a tiger.  For example, last year, Czech Gripen was the canvas for the stylish “Wildcat”, which was a partially covered face of model Simona Krainová and a tiger. Similarly, in 2013, one of the participating Gripen had a motif called "Picasso Tiger".

Besides Czech Air Force, the Hungarian Air Force has also sent its Gripen fighters to the exercise.

NATO Tiger Meet will be held till 25 May.

You can take a look at how Czech Gripen fighters have been given a different makeover at various NATO Tiger Meets here.

Read the full story here.​

Image Courtesy: WeAreNATO

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Director General of Saab Aeronáutica Montagens (SAM), Marcelo Lima says that Saab is reaching out to companies that can offer tooling material, general equipment, consumables, general services and handling material among other things.

To begin the process, Saab met with 55 companies, out of which 35 were based out of Brazil, at a workshop recently. 

According to Lima, the shortlisted companies will play various roles in starting SAM's operations. “We are also focusing on companies that already sell to multinationals," he says.

The selection process is intensive. All the companies had to prepare presentation for stage one. "After this presentation, we sent a questionnaire that will help us know more about the company, how was it formed etc. Then we will ask for quotations followed by which we will evaluate each offer before making the final decisions,” he elaborated.

SAM was unveiled earlier this month in the city of São Bernardo do Campo, in São Paulo state, Brazil. Not only will SAM produce aerostructures for the Brazilian Gripen fighter, but also become part of Saab´s global supply chain.

As of now, Saab has selected two service providers and hired nine employees. "Our strategy is to talk to our existing partners in the Brazilian Gripen programme, who are already familiar with the aeronautical sector. We have started visiting a few companies and will hold another workshop to meet more direct suppliers between year-end and beginning of 2019,” Lima says.

Read the full story here.

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Members of Gripen User Group paid a visit to the Aeronautics Command (COMAER), in Brasília, and discussed Gripen operations, maintenance and logistics. The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) hosted the Gripen Users Group (GUG) for the first time ever. The meeting took place between participants from Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa, Thailand and Sweden. 

Last year, Brazilian delegates went to Prague to meet the GUG. Air Major Jefson Borges, who is in charge of all communication between the official channels of the Brazilian Defence, stressed on the importance of such gatherings. “GUG meetings take place at different professional levels, from commanders to technicians. We learn a lot from these meetings because we get to know about operating the Gripen system from various operators. This will help us be better prepared and not make the same mistakes they made,” he said.

One of the participating members, Thai Air Force Captain Jackkrit Thammavichai said, “The issues discussed in the Group help both those who are already users of the aircraft, and Brazil, who will soon have access to the latest technology.” 

The entourage headed to Gavião Peixoto from Brasilia to pay a visit to the Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN) where Santosh Miadaira, Senior Program Manager, Embraer, Gripen programme, told everyone about the importance of GDDN."GDDN marks the beginning of the technology transfer programme between Brazil and Sweden," he said.

The next Gripen Users meeting will be hosted by Hungary.

Read the full story here​.

Image courtesy: Brazilian Air ...

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AEL Sistemas has now delivered the third prototype of the Wide Area Display (WAD) for Gripen E/F which is being developed for the Brazilian Air Force. 

The Wide Area Display in Gripen E is a panoramic high-resolution screen (19 x 8 in) that allows a redundant and intelligent presentation of information across its entire length, with the capacity to receive inputs from multitask keys, the touchscreen or external interfaces. Using data fusion, it provides the pilot with the information needed, and is the main source of flight and mission information in the cockpit.

"The delivery of Model C prototype represents AEL´s commitment to technology absorption in the development of WAD for the next generation of Brazilian fighters. We deliver the prototype on schedule, enabling Saab engineers to continue their work towards the final integration of the aircraft,” says Sergio Horta, president of AEL Sistemas.

Last year, the Model B prototype was delivered by AEL. This prototype came with the final mechanics and hardware for use in the laboratory, simulator and aircraft (ground testing). After that, further enhancements were made to Model C. The new graphic card ensures an increased processing capacity and better image presentation. With its new mechanics, hardware, and software, Model C will be used in the development and qualification tests of the aircraft during flight mode.  

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: AEL Sistemas​

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“Gripen has operational capability that is second to none. When you package that with value for money in terms of acquisition and life cycle cost, and also industrial packages that Saab offers, I believe we have a platform that is perfect for the market segment we are pitching to,” says Richard Smith, head of Gripen marketing and sales.

Giving a status update on the sales prospect of Gripen E/F and Gripen C/D, Richard says that both variants are in demand. “We have a unique position in the market as we can offer two very different systems from the same pedigree in the market,” he adds.

About Switzerland, he says Saab is very positive about the outcome. “This is round two. This time the country is not just replacing the F5 fighter but also the F18 Hornet. We are expecting an RFI anytime soon.”

Saab has been present in Finland for a number of years and is currently working on a proposal for the country. In the UK and the US, Saab sees great potential for Gripen Aggressor sales. 

Saab has also been in dialogue with Bulgaria and Slovakia. “I am confident that Gripen would be perfect for these nations. They have two neighbors that operate Gripen C/D, so there is a scope of working together as well,” Richard says.

About India, one of the biggest market Saab is pitching to, Richard says that his team is working on a proposal. “We would submit a proposal ...

​Get to know the inside of the all new Saab Aeronáutica Montagens (SAM). The manufacturing facility will be responsible to produce structural parts like the tail cone, aerodynamic brakes, and wing box for the 36 Gripen fighters that are being developed for  the Brazilian Air Force.

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