F17 Wing of the Swedish Armed Forces at Ronneby in the southeastern province of Blekinge has started operations with an upgraded Saab SK60 advanced training last week. The new aircraft, with tail number 086, is designated SK 60AU or Avionics Update. But there is a bit more to that.
The SK 60AU for the first time has a GPS system plus other navigation aids to help the pilot navigate more precisely, a new radio with a sort of Bitching Betty function to warn the pilot for a flying altitude that is too low and sound effects that give the pilot the same warnings for failure or G-force stress as in the JAS 39 Gripen fighter jet.
The SK 60AU also has a new information system about altitude in feet, distance in nautical miles an speed in knots like in the Gripen and other western planes. The older SK 60s fly with the metric system with altitude in metres and speed in kilometres per hour, like the Russians do.
Saab Model 105, in Swedish service designated Skolflygplan 60, had its maiden flight already in 1963. About a 150 were delivered to the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet), where it serves since 1967. The Flygvapnet’s SK 60s fly with all wings, but the majority is based at F3 Malmslätt in Linköping to train future combat pilots.
40 aircraft of the type were delivered to the Austrian Air Force as Saab 105OE, where they still fly from Hörsching/Linz. Although generally unarmed, the Swedish SK 60 can be deployed with missiles on the wings.
Three nations, 64 combat aircraft in the air at a time, the air forces of five countries and 2000 personnel. That is Arctic Challenge. Red Flag Scandinavian Style is being held for the first time from September 16 to September 27, 2013, in Sweden, Norway and Finland.
In total 90 aircraft will be deployed during ACE13 – nice abbreviation by the way – if one includes tanker and support aircraft. Pilots will train in co-ordinated combat tactics and procedures. The scenario is a peace enforcing operation with UN mandate.
The exercise is being conducted from four airbases: F21 Luleå-Kallax in Sweden, Bodø and Ørland in Norway and Lapin Lennosto i Rovaniemi, Finland. Operations are being directed from Bodø.
Every day two missions are flown. The morning ops are done in three different areas, one in Norway, one in Sweden and one in Finland. The afternoon program is solely executed in the vast training area of Northern Sweden, from Lycksele in the south to Kiruna in the north.
Contributing countries/units and airplanes are the 211, 212, 171 Air Combat divisions and 22 JAS 39 Gripen of the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet), F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcons of the Royal Norwegian Air Force, F-18C/D of the Finnish Air Force, Royal Air Force Typhoons and 30 F-15s of the US Air Force in Europe (USAFE; both F-15C Eagle and F-15E Strike Eagle).
The Swedish Armed Forces will NOT send one of their eight C-130s (TP 84) to the UN peacekeeping force in Mali, defence minister Karin Enström confirmed. A recent assessment of the area showed a lot of possible landing spots in the north of the country are unfit for the Hercules aircraft.
The move is remarkable since the Flygvapnet and 70 support personnel were already training for the planned deployment from October 1 this year, as reported by AIRheads↑Fly on September 3rd.
Sweden now considers sending an aircraft to Uganda for humanitarian operations instead, but a go-ahead is highly uncertain.
The Swedish move might also have an impact on other countries scouting Mali for a possible air detachment, like the Dutch armed forces who have sent a small team to assess the situation. The Dutch consider anything from C-130s to helicopters, but with long supply lines and questionable local support possibilities and facilities any Royal Netherlands Air Force contribution is highly uncertain as well.
As reported this week, the F-35A Lightning II has taken the final hurdle in the Netherlands. That leaves a few companies with empty hands, although it has to be said that Saab, Dassault and Eurofighter GmbH did just about everything they could. It’s however no major surprise that the F-35A will after all replace the Dutch F-16 in a few years time. Saab, Dassault, and Eurofighter GmbH were essentially the losers from the word ‘go’, as the Dutch MoD basically had only thing in mind. Here goes a tribute to losers!
In 2001, Rafale, Gripen and Eurofighter went head to head at the Leeuwarden airshow in the Netherlands. The JSF – as the F-35 was known as back then – was nowhere to been seen, since the prototype X-35 only flew first in October 2000.
In the years that followed, all three competitors started appearing in European skies more and more, while the F-35 only really started testing in late 2006.
As production mounted, Saab, Dassault and Eurofighter started looking for export customers for their hardware in the hope that sells would really take off. All types saw action in the 2011 Libya war. Meanwhile, testing of the F-35 continues in the US. Some time between August 2016 and December 2016, the first USAF F-35 squadron will reach Initial Operational Capability.
Show off In recent years, Gripens, Rafales and Eurofighters were steady performers at airshows worldwide. It is unclear when the first F-35 will be seen outside the United States.
The final loser There is however one more loser in the well over a decade long debate about a Dutch F-16 replacement. It’s the F-35A Lightning II that in some years time will touch down on Dutch soil, but will have to do its very best to win the hearts and trust of Dutch taxpayers. Plus, we at AIRheads↑FLY simply think its not the sexiest thing in the sky. Go Rafale!
The Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet) is preparing one of its eight TP 84 (C-130H) Hercules aircraft for deployment in Mali next month.
The Swedish C-130s are amongst the oldest of the type still in service in Europe, with 32 to 48 years of age. They operate out of F7 Såtenäs base at giant lake Vänern in the southern part of the country. Despite frequent talks about a replacement of the TP 84s, no decision has been made nor does one seem imminent.
The Swedish Armed Forces are, however, one of the largest users of the NATO/EU C-17 strategic transport fleet centrally based at Papa in Hungary to compensate for their lack of long-range air transport capacity.
It’s the decision of the Swedish parliament to send the Flygvapnet C-130 together with 70 personnel to the UN force Minusma, the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali. The Swedish task force is designated FM 01 and will use September to build up its operations just outside the Mali capital of Bamako. Officially the unit will be operational on October 1, serving till Januari 31, 2014.
The Swedish Armed Forces FM 01 will mainly be tasked with transport of materiel and personnel from southern to northern Mali in what officially is called ,,establishment of increased security in the turbulent northern areas”.
A French intervention force pushed back extremist rebels when they started Operation Serval at January 11, 2013. The later joint French-African operations, supported by several EU countries, has now been turned into a United Nations mission.