Flight and Ground Tests with the Gripen Are Completed
(Source: armasuisse; issued Aug. 19, 2008)
(Issued in French; unofficial translation by defense-aerospace.com)
One down and two to go: Switzerland has completed its two-week evaluation of the Saab Gripen. (Gripen Int’l photo)
The trials of the first candidate for the partial replacement of the fleet of Tiger aircraft (TTE program) have now been completed. The evaluation of the Swedish Gripen aircraft was carried out as planned at the Emmen military airfield. This evaluation was carried out by armasuisse, in cooperation with the air force. The two Gripens will leave Emmen today for their return flight to Sweden.

Ground and flight trials of the Gripen began on July 28 and included about 30 flights. During a total of about 35 flight hours, the aircraft were flown by armasuisse and air force pilots. Gripen will be followed by Rafale (France) in October and Eurofighter. The evaluation process will be completed by early December.

These ground and in-flight trials are an important part of the evaluation process. The air force contributed to these trials with about 50 missions flown by F-5E/F and F/A-18C/D aircraft which acted as targets or for formation flights. Missions were flown by day and night, and at supersonic speeds, and as they are counted as part of the annual flight contingent did not result in an increase in flight activity on the air bases involved. The Federal Materials Testing Laboratory (EMPA) measured noise levels at Emmen and Meiringen military airfields; the results will be used as part of the evaluation.

Division Commander Makus Gygax, commander of the air force, formed a personal opinion of the Gripen during a demonstration flight flown by a Swedish air force pilot. Similar familiarization flights are planned with the other candidates.

Dates of Other Flight Trials in Switzerland:
-- Dassault Rafale: Oct. 13 to Nov. 7, 2008;
-- EADS Eurofighter: Nov. 11 to Dec. 5, 2008.

Subsequent Activities:
Once the ground and flight trials have been completed, and after the parallel evaluation of the initial offers, collected data will be analyzed and manufacturers will be invited to submit their final offers.

The selection of the winning contender is scheduled for July 2009, on the basis of the new offers and of the evaluation report.


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