Gripen Flight Evaluations in Sweden
(Source: Swiss Defence Procurement Agency, armasuisse; issued May 4, 2012)
(Issued in French; unofficial translation by
Swiss air force pilots have carried out an in-flight evaluation of Saab’s Gripen F demonstrator, which will evolve into the New-Generation Gripen NG. (Swiss MoD photo)
A team of Air Force and armasuisse specialists undertook, from 2 to 4 May 2012, in Linköping, Sweden, a series of test flights on the Gripen F demonstrator. The four flights, carried out on a two-seat aircraft, were used to verify previous evaluations of the Gripen E/F, and to reduce the risks associated with the development of the aircraft. All these test flights could be completed as intended.

LINKOPING, Sweden --- With the Federal Council’s decision of 30 November 2011 concerning the choice of aircraft, a major milestone was reached in the acquisition of new fighter planes for Swiss Air Force.

Following this decision, the [Ministry of Defence, DDPS] has been tasked by the Federal Council with the preparation of the acquisition of the Gripen.

Within the DDPS, this task is assigned to an integrated project team (IPT) led by armasuisse, and comprising representatives of the Air Force and other DDPS departments.

In parallel to ongoing negotiations with the Swedish government concerning the optimization of the procurement process, further technical discussions are taking place intensively between partners in Sweden and Switzerland.

Sweden and Switzerland plan to complete the technical details of their coordinated acquisition of Gripen by the end of second quarter of 2012.

Status of the acquisition process

The IPT is closely monitoring the progress of the project with industry, as is customary in complex acquisitions projects.

Monitoring this progress allows not only the oversight and verification of the Gripen E/F performance, but also the reduction of the risks associated with the further development of the Gripen C/D to the more advanced E/F version.

In this context, the first test flights have now been held with the Gripen F demonstrator belonging to the manufacturer, Saab, in Sweden.

A small team of pilots and flight test engineers from the Swiss Air Force and armasuisse have carried out a series of test flights, in close collaboration with the manufacturer.

Program and test flights

The evaluation program, which took place over three days, included work on the training simulator as well as real "test flights".

During the first day, the two pilots refreshed their knowledge of the Gripen in the simulator, and especially familiarized themselves with the new capabilities of the Gripen F demonstrator.

During the following two days flights were carried out to verify the evaluation of the Gripen E/F and to reduce the risks associated with the planned purchase.

To ensure that the tests were as realistic as possible, they were executed on the basis of various operational scenarios which correspond to what could be required of the aircraft in Switzerland.

They each featured two aircraft with mission profiles for air defense and air police roles. Missions were flown with different weapon configurations and with the support of target aircraft.

All missions were flown from Saab’s base at Linköping in Sweden.

The various test flights took place mainly over the Baltic Sea, at an altitude between sea level and 12,000 meters. All test flights have been performed successfully.

Gripen F Demonstrator

The Gripen F demonstrator F, tested by the Swiss pilots in Sweden, is an intermediate model between the Gripen C/D and the Gripen E/F.

This two-seater is a derivative of the Gripen D, and made its first flight May 27, 2008. It has since logged over 200 flight hours. This demonstrator provides a platform for testing subsystems to be installed in the Gripen E/F.

The Gripen F Demonstrator F is powered by a General Electric F414G engine.

It is equipped with a larger internal fuel tank, some cockpit components of the new avionics suite, and two additional weapon stations under the fuselage. In addition, its landing gear was repositioned.

Differences between the Gripen C/D and the Gripen E/F

The main differences between the Gripen E/F that Switzerland has chosen to acquire and the Gripen C/D tested in 2008 are:

- More powerful engine;
- Increased internal fuel capacity;
- New Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar at the forefront of technology;
- Infrared scan and track (IRST) passive sensor;
- New cockpit avionics;
- New electronic warfare system;
- Two additional weapon stations;
- New landing gear.

Next Steps

During the summer of 2012 Saab, the manufacturer, will fit the new AESA radar to the aircraft and carry out tests. Subsequent verification by the Swiss team is planned for the second half of this year. (ends)

Saab: Swiss Pilots Fly Gripen E/F Test Aircraft In Sweden
(Source: Saab AB; issued May 4, 2012)
LINKÖPING, Sweden --- Under clear blue skies, a team of test pilots and flight test engineers from the Swiss Air Force and the Swiss federal defence procurement agency, Armasuisse, visited Saab (STO:SAABB) in Linköping in Sweden to perform test flights with the Gripen E/F test aircraft.

On 30 November last year the Federal Council selected Gripen E/F as the preferred candidate to replace the Swiss Air Force's ageing fleet of Northrop F-5E/F Tiger. The Swiss Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports (DDPS) was commissioned to start discussions with Saab and the Swedish Government to optimize Saab's offer. The negotiations continue according to plan and the test flights in Sweden are part of the on-going process.

The three day programme, conducted between 2-4 May, included simulator training and four test flights. The test flights focused on air defense and air policing mission profiles with different weapon configurations, which included IRIS-T as well as both METEOR and AMRAAM.

“We tested the flight performance simulating an operational air defense mission profile. The flight was packed with test points. We were able to perform them all. A successful flight”, Lt Col Fabio Antognini, Swiss Air Force

“We performed flight performance tests using an air policing scenario. We simulated a quick reaction alert and a maximum performance intercept to high altitude and supersonic speed. We tested the engine in the entire envelope and are pleased with the results.” says Bernhard Berset, Chief Test Pilot at Armasuisse.

The Gripen E/F test programme is running according to plan. In the upcoming fourth phase of testing, Saab continues to integrate new leading-edge technologies which includes further enhancement of the avionics and displays. The radar system will also be further enhanced through the re-installation of a newer version of the AESA radar. The previous test phases have focused on areas such as flight handling, aerodynamics, performance improvements including the new GE F414G engine and increased weapon loads as well as the introduction of new sensors and new avionics in the aircraft.

“The co-operation between the two teams has been truly fantastic. We conducted four test flights with the Gripen E/F test aircraft, which performed, as ever, perfectly. We have really shown the growing capabilities of this aircraft and we demonstrated everything requested, including increased performance, handling and endurance,” says Richard Ljungberg, Chief Test Pilot, Saab.

Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions ranging from military defence to civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents and constantly develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs.


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