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Monday, February 14, 2011

Next Steps For Gripen

More progress with the Gripen NG fighter was quietly announced during Aero-India. Saab CEO Håkan Buskhe remarked that the program was moving into its next stage under a contract from the Swedish Air Force.

Details behind Bushke's brief statement: The Gripen Demo prototype is in the hangar being fitted with the NG's new avionics (which are intended to make upgrades cheaper and faster by separating mission software from flight-critical functions) and a prototype of the Selex Raven ES-05 active electronically scanned radar, with its gimballed antenna.  It will return to flight status "before the summer".

In line behind it is the first true JAS 39E/F test aircraft, built from the ground up as such with a production-representative structure, landing gear and other changes. It will "probably" fly during 2012, Ares is told, and two more aircraft are expected to join the test program later.

This activity confirms that the E/F program is getting underway, without a lot of fanfare, but with real progress and funding.

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