Saab Defence started the construction of the first Gripen-E multi-role fighter at its plant at Linköping-Saab airfield, Sweden, reports the company.
First to be constructed is the front fuselage of the first pre-production test aircraft 39-8. Following a short period of design using the latest tools and methods, through so called Model Based Design, the construction of the Gripen E begins with the manufacturing and assembly of all parts of the fuselage. That is thee largest and most time consuming part of the airframe. These parts will then be joined together and assembled into a complete airframe. This is followed by an intensive construction period to install cables, mount systems, the outer shell and other equipment.
Based on the design of previous versions of the Gripen fighter aircraft, the Gripen-E offers a next generation sensor suite, new communication links, a new avionics architecture, more thrust, increased flight time, more weapon stations and load capability, a fully digital cockpit and a brand new electronic warfare system.
The test aircraft 39-8 will be the first complete pre-production version of the Gripen-E and will be used to demonstrate new features and capabilites. The technological leaps in the Gripen-E have been proven in the Gripen demonstrator programme with the Gripen E/F demo aircraft that has flown over 250 hours in countries such as Sweden, the UK, India and Switzerland since 2008.
On February 15, Saab signed an agreement with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) regarding development and modification of 60 Gripen-E for Sweden during the period 2013-2026 as well as a possible order for new production of Gripen E for Switzerland. More than 1,000 people at Saab are now working solely with the development and production of the Gripen-E.
Source: Saab Group