When a test aircraft last week did a number of tests on the ground, it was a milestone in the development and delivery of the Gripen JAS 39E - one of [Sweden’s] largest industrial projects. Like all development projects, it offers tremendous challenges, technically, temporally and economically.
“We are just over three years into a ten-year development project, with a high proportion of cutting edge technology. A lot of very hard work remains in the Armed Forces, in FMV and industry before an operationally-relevant aeronautical system based on the JAS 39E Gripen can be delivered to the Armed Forces,” says Mats Knafve, FMV product leader for the Gripen system, also called Air Systems 39.
The Gripen E programme has seen great progress and the aircraft is responding really well to all our test and verification activities. Since the rollout in May, Saab has achieved major milestones and now has begun taxi testing. (Saab video)
Gripen JAS 39E builds on the JAS 39C / D Gripen, but differs in several crucial ways.
“It must be built into a limited space, and work in a very special environment. There is always a technical challenge to using new technology and putting it together into a functioning system of systems,” says Mats Knafve.
FMV is leading the project as a whole, and carries out continuous analyses to identify possible technical, schedule and economic risks that might affect a timely response.
Among other things, it regularly performs audits to evaluate the usefulness of the system as early as possible in the development cycle.
Step by step to complete aircraft
The manufacturer Saab, which is the supplier of aircraft Gripen JAS 39E, working to the so-called agile development concept.
“This type of complex development is often incremental, meaning that developers develop and test the concept and develop the system by increments. That way you get feedback from the experiences all the time, and can gradually integrate the different parts of the aircraft so you do not have problems at the end, when everything works together.”
The plan is to build three test aircraft for the development phase. The first is already assembled, and is now being used for ground testing of component systems; it will gradually increase the scope of the tests, and them move into the flight test phase.
FACTS - Division of responsibilities within the project Gripen E:
-- FMV is the development and production leader of the Gripen JAS 39E, to ensure industry meets the requirements of the Armed Forces.
-- An agreement between FMV and industry (Saab) regulates supplies, responsibilities and costs.
-- Regarding delivery, Saab will have to demonstrate that the aircraft is safe. FMV will verify the flight equipment system 39 as a whole, through its own tests and by examination of documents, and
-- the Armed Forces to carry out their own tests to ensure that the system meets their operational needs.