10 000 Flight Hours for Gripen in Thailand
(Source: Swedish defence matériel agency, FMV; issued Oct 29, 2018)
During July and August, the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) participated in the multinational Pitch Black 2018 exercise in Darwin, Northern Australia. During the exercise, the 10,000th flight timetable included the Thai Gripen aircraft.

The RTAF participated with six Gripen C / D flying through Singapore and Bali along with support staff. The RTAF’s 10,000th flight hour on Gripen took place during the exercise, and was celebrated with a big party where all nations participated. Thai Air Force Chiefs attended the event to lead the celebration, and FMV handed over a gift to mark the event through Swedish Defense Attaché Mika Ihalainen.

Gripen's 10,000th flight hour with the Royal Thai Air Force was celebrated during the practice in Australia.

Sweden was given the opportunity, via FMV, to participate in the training with two Air Force airmen and three Electronic Warfare specialists from the Defense Force Telecoms Unit, TKSE.

"It is very gratifying that we in FMV could create some extra benefit for the Swedish defense here," says Martin Mann, project manager for Gripen Thailand.

The Pitch Black exercise has grown since the beginning of the 1980s into a major exercise with up to 4000 participants and 140 aircraft. The exercise is conducted every two years and participants come from Australia, Canada, France (New Caledonia), Germany, Indonesia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, India, Malaysia and the United States.

Participating aircraft were, besides Gripen, F-15, F-16, F-18, SU-30 and, for the first time, French Rafale. The exercise area is very well designed with good exercise possibilities, it is also greatly increased, about ten times as large as the extended test area at FMV's test site in Vidsel.

"The RTAF Gripen performed very well in the exercise and in particular, it can be noted that 100 percent of scheduled flights were carried out. A very good mission probability. The customer RTAF is also very pleased with the result, says Martin Mann.

Through FMV, Sweden has delivered twelve Gripen airplanes, two AEW aircraft, a Saab 340 transport aircraft, and a management system to Thailand in a contract signed in 2008 and 2010. FMV still has contracts for support, maintenance and maintenance.

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