Tag Archives: Linköping

SAAB Gripen program update

During the annual Saab Gripen seminar, which was held on Thursday 17 March, Ulf Nilsson, head of Saab business area Aeronautics, and Richard Smith, head of Gripen marketing and sale, gave an update on the status on various developments on the Gripen.

Gripen E/F

At this moment, manufacturing of the first Gripen E prototype is still on schedule and within budget, as the aircraft is in final assembly now. Roll out is planned to take place at 18 May this year. This protoype will be used as test aircraft, so test equipment will be installed in it.

Competitions and tenders

At this moment, SAAB is involved in different competitions and tenders to market the Gripen system. Smith stated the Gripen has been offered to Croatia and Bulgaria as replacement of eageing eastern type of fighter aircraft. Negotiations started with Slovakia for delivery of 8 Gripens to replace the MiG-29 Fulcrum aircraft, which are reaching the end of their service life. Finland is looking for new aircraft as replacement for the F-18 Hornet, in which SAAB participates in a tender for 40 Gripen E/F aircraft. Belgium still has to decide what will be the successor of the F-16’s, and the Gripen will take part in the tender for 30-36 frames. In the Asian Pacific market, SAAB started the negotiating process with Malaysia, and they’re even confident the Gripen has in chance in Indonesia. Further more, SAAB stll has a focuss on India, as the Swedish and Indian Prime ministers met in India recently. In the Americas-region Colombia got marketing info about the Gripen system.


Currently, there are 50 Brazilian engineers in Linköping, Sweden, who are being trained to learn the maintenance and development tools of the Gripen and the program. In April the next group will arrive in Sweden, and finally it is expected some 350 Brazilians have found there way to Linköping. SAAB and Embraer are building a new test and engineering center at Embraer’s industrial plant in Gavião Peixoto, Brazil. This will support the operations of the Brazilian Air Force Gripen aircraft.

SAAB expects to sell 400 aircraft in the next 20 years, with a backlog of 96 aircraft at the moment (60 Gripen E’s for Sweden and 36 for Brazil). At this moment the Gripen is already in service with the Swedish military, as well as in Thailand, South Africa, Czech Republic and Hungary.

Two Gripens over an Icelandic postcard. (Image © 21st TAFB)
Two Gripens over an Icelandic postcard. (Image © 21st TAFB)

Proven concept

The Gripen also proved its value in recent conflicts, for example by doing Air Policing missions, such as the Hungarians  did over the Baltics, and the Czechs operated several times from Iceland.

So we certainly will hear more about SAAB and the Gripen in the year’s to come.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Dennis Spronk
Featured image: Artist impression released by the Swedish Department of Foreign Affairs of the Saab JAS 39 Gripen E/F in Brazilian Air Force colours (Image © Utrikes Departementet)


Croatia re-establishes interest in Swedish Gripen, may opt for new jets

Sweden responded to a re-established request by the Government of Croatia on the possible purchase or lease of the SAAB JAS 39 C/D Gripen multi-role fighter.

A Croatian Air Force MiG-21 (Image © MORH)
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According to the Swedish Defence Export Authority (Försvarsexportmyndigheten; FXM) information was sent on Friday 23 October regarding the purchase of 8 to 12 new-to-build aircraft.

It is the latest development in talks that go back all the way to 2007, when Croatia started to look for a future replacement for its aging but recently in Ukraine modernized Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 “Fishbed” fighters. Earlier Croatia seemed to be interested in leasing Swedish Air Force Gripens, but partly because those aircraft are in high demand Zagreb now seems to be willing to look at new aircraft instead.

Meanwhile a group of 150 Brazilian engineers arrived at the SAAB plant in Linköping last week, starting their training in building and maintaining the newer Gripen E/F model of which the Força Aérea Brasileira is purchasing at least 36 units, while leasing possible 12 to 16 aircraft until the bigger and more capable Gripen E/F is ready. Talks with Slovakia on the lease of the Gripen C/D are also still underway.

The C/D model of the Gripen already flies with the air forces of Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa and Thailand.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The Gripen C in action with the Czech Air Force (Image © Martin Král)

Remote ATC towers in Ireland

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has signed a contract with Saab for the delivery of a Remote Tower Centre to Dublin Airport and the corresponding remote tower installations at Cork and Shannon Airport. Electronic Flight Strips (EFS) are also included in the order and will be installed at all three airports.

Saab’s Remote Tower solution is the world’s first operational and approved system. The Remote Tower installation at Cork and Shannon will be operated from Dublin Remote Tower Centre and will be a part of the large scale evaluation carried out by SESAR, Single European Sky ATM Research. The Electronic Flight Strips will be installed in the towers at Cork, Shannon and Dublin Airport.

The remote tower system includes high definition cameras and pan-tilt-zoom cameras, surveillance and meteorological sensors, microphones, signal light guns and other devices for deployment at the airport. Data from these sensors are sent to a Remote Tower Center (RTC) to be displayed in real time. A controller at the RTC has the tools, in addition to live video, to operate the airport in a similar manner as he or she would in a normal Air Traffic Control Tower.

In Sweden the airport of Örnsköldsvik in the central part of the country became the world’s first airport with air traffic control on distance in April 2015, with the real air traffic controllers working at Sundsvall airport more than 70 miles (120 km) away. Saab tested the system first at Ängelholm airport in the southwest, a former military airbase turned civilian. Even Sundsvall Airport is moving to become a RTC location, with Linköping-Saab Airport – where Saab builds the Gripen fighter jet and has commercial aviation and military visitors – becoming the third Swedish airfield the coming years with the system.

Source: Saab, with editional reporting by Airheadsfly.com
Featured image: The SAAB Remote Tower Centre (Image © SAAB)

Gripen better plane after “Android” upgrade

The SAAB JAS 39C/D Gripen multirole fighters will become (even) better planes, thanks to a firmware upgrade very much alike a newer Android or iOS on your smartphone. “The new version will partly have new, awesome functions and fixes shortcomings on earlier versions,” says Robert Novén, test engineer at the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) T&E division in Linköping, Sweden.

The last Gripen C delivered to the Swedish Air Force. No. 294 landed at F17 Ronneby on 19 March 2015 (Image © Kent Löving / Försvarsmakten)
Related post: Swedish Air Force’s final
Gripen C has landed
FMV T&E – FMV stands for Försvarets materielverk – has “pimped” one Gripen with the MS20 upgrade. The aircraft is – although unconfirmed – likely a D-version, making it possible for test engineers like Novén to ride in the back seat to verify and evaluate the new firmware. Forty of those test flights are now planned to take place, with another JAS 39C and another 39D modified with the new bits and bytes.

MS20 includes new weapon, radar and combat functions. The final and tested firmware upgrade will enable all current C/D Gripens to use the Meteor Beyond Visual-Range Air-to-Air Missile, already tested on the Saab Test Flight Squadron’s JAS 39C in July 2014. Moreover, the Gripens will be able to use small diameter bombs and have a new program to improve its radar capabilities and enables it to fly in highly chemical, biological and radio-active zones. A specially adapted CBRN Gripen with tail number 253 has already been involved in international testing.

The other updates of MS20 might be less sexy, but still great. They will renew or improve the Gripen’s Ground Collission Avoidance System, its self-protection suite, Link 16, digital Combat Air Support, reconnaissance functions and support for navigation in civilian airspace.

The "office" of a Gripen C pilot (Image © Saab AB)
The “office” of a Gripen C pilot (Image © Saab AB)

Although Sweden has ordered 60 Gripens of the new E-standard for 2.6 to 3 billion USD, with deliveries commencing in 2018, many of the current 90 operational JAS 39C/D Gripen of the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet) are likely to stay in service for many years to come. Moreover, the Gripen C and D are flown by the air forces of the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa and Thailand. Slovakia is expected to start leasing JAS 39C/Ds within the next two years.

The Brazilian Air Force will soon fly leased C/Ds until half of the currently ordered 36 Gripen Es SAAB will build together with Brazilian Embraer enters service. The first two Força Aérea Brasileira pilots already made their solo flights from Såtenäs Airbase. The first 20 of a group of at least 150 engineers of Embraer are expected at the SAAB plant in Linköping coming Autumn to start their training in how to build a Gripen.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, including source information provided by Försvarets materielverk
Featured image (top): A Swedish Air Force JAS 39C with a ESTL self-protection pod (Image © Peter Liander / Saab AB)

Seen here are Gripen tails from Hungary, UK (Saabs Cooperation with BAE Systems), Sweden, Thailand and South Africa. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Seen here are Gripen tails from Hungary, the UK (Saab’s Cooperation with BAE Systems), Sweden, Thailand and South Africa. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Brazilian AF chief: Gripen arrives in 2016

4x6 size Artist impression released by the Swedish Department of Foreign Affairs of the Saab JAS 39 Gripen E/F in Brazilian Air Force colours (Image © Utrikes Departementet)
Artist impression released by the Swedish Department of Foreign Affairs of the Saab JAS 39 Gripen E/F in Brazilian Air Force colours (Image © Utrikes Departementet)

The first Brazilian SAAB JAS 39 Gripen aircraft will arrive in 2016, the Air Force chief Juniti Saito said to the country’s Senate on 14 March 2014.

The Força Aérea Brasileira commander thereby acknowledged he accepted the proposition by the Swedish government / SAAB to borrow 10 to 12 JAS 39C/D Gripen aircraft currently in service with the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet). In 2018 the newly and mostly locally build E/F Gripens will start to arrive, according to the brigadier-general.

On 18 December 2013 the Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and the FAB’s minister of defence Celso Amorim confirmed the deal with Swedish SAAB for the delivery of 36 of the previously known Gripen Next Generation (Gripen NG) fighter, worth 3.5 billion euro (about 5 billion US$). Only parts of the new aircraft will be made at SAAB’s homebase of Linköping in Sweden. Saab’s vice-CEO Lennart Sindahl confirmed in an early stage in an interview with Brazilian Globo tv that São Bernardo do Campo will get the Saab Gripen assembly line and that Brazil would lease Gripen C/Ds until the new aircraft arrives.

A F-5EM from the Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB) during Cruzex Crusade (Image © Ralph Blok)
A F-5EM from the Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB) during Cruzex Crusade (Image © Ralph Blok)

Northrop F-5
The Brazilians are in great need of modern fighter jets, after they retired their Mirage 2000s in December 2013. The country’s air defence and jet air support is now in the hands of 51 Northrop F-5EM and six F-5FM Tigers. Although modernised, these fighters don’t meet today’s standards for modern fighter jets.

Swedish Air Force
The Swedish Air Force currently flies between 88 and 95 of the projected 100 Gripen C/D, but due to budget restrains the number of active aircraft are far lower. Therefore a dozen aircraft in Brazil will not be missed in the Nordics. Like Brazil and likely Switzerland, the Swedish Air Force will get the newest Gripen version. Sixty E/Fs are on order to be largely constructed out of the current C/D aircraft. Sources within the Swedish military hope to eventually get 80 JAS 39E/F Gripens, and sources within SAAB hope that will be new to build airframes.

© 2014 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger

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