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Saab have completed a successful first flight of what they’re calling the ‘next generation smart fighter’, Gripen E.

According to a press release from Saab received by the UK Defence Journal, on Thursday June 15 the Gripen E took off on its maiden flight, flown by a Saab test pilot.

The aircraft left from Saab’s airfield in Linköping, Sweden and flew over the eastern parts of Östergötland for 40 minutes.

During the flight, the aircraft carried out a number of actions to demonstrate various test criteria including the retracting and extending of the landing gear.

Marcus Wandt, Experimental Test Pilot, Saab said:

“The flight was just as expected, with the aircraft performance matching the experience in our simulations. Its acceleration performance is impressive with smooth handling. Needless to say I’m very happy to have piloted this maiden flight.”

Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and Head of Saab Business Area Aeronautics said:

“Today we have flown this world class fighter aircraft for the first time. We achieved it with the fully qualified software for the revolutionary avionics system. This is about giving our customers a smart fighter system with the future designed in from the start.

The flight test activities will continue to build on this achievement with the programme on track to achieve the 2019 delivery schedule to our Swedish and Brazilian customers.”

10 COMMENTS

  1. The Swedes produce top quality equipment at fantastic prices which works as promised, maybe we should be buying more from them.

    • Agreed Steven. From reports I have read before, the Gripen proved a handful for our Typhoons in DAC maneuvers; apparently the EW suite fitted is top notch!

    • What price?

      They have 1 order for this plane (Brazil) which they only secured after the Swedish government promised to loan Brazil the money to pay for them…. and it is close to $150m per unit.
      Quite a lot for what is at best a block-70 F-16.

      • I agree Joe there are cheaper options out there and I accept it might be comparable in size, weapon loadout, speed, etc., to the F-16 series but again, I think it outperforms the F-16 in terms avionics – at least for EW. Again, I have heard our guys found it a handful; that coming from Typhoon drivers. It will also be able to utilise Meteor. If I am not mistaken, BAE markets this plane – right? If true, might be a conflict of interest viz a viz Typhoon! Small fish in a big fighter pond but no doubt an excellent aircraft.

  2. It will be fine… but it is already 5 years delayed.
    Like its predecessors, it will struggle to get orders because of its non-existent economy of scale.

    Best of luck to Sweden if they think this will match their peers through to the 2050’s

  3. I really like the Gripen and think its a great fighter and worthy of consideration for all forces.

    Whilst I would like the RAF to have some of these I think if we can get to 8 squadrons (of 16) of Typhoons and 8 squadrons of F35b’s and then have a further 8 squadrons of Taranis (or its successor) that are directed by the F35’s then this is a better solution for the RAF and gives us capability and scale (with Taranis).

  4. Like IKEA furniture it works.
    It is not the fastest, not the stealthiest, not the most powerful, not the sexiest but as someone has put it “that is not a bug it’s a feature”. Its EWS and networking capability is non plus ultra as the Swedes have been at the cutting edge of that game since the sixties with J35 Draken and later the mighty J37 Viggen. With Gripen E and the Meteor SwAF will be on the right track. Pitty that our politicians don’t realise that we need more than the 60 already ordered, but I think that is soon to change as the Russian bear is showing its teeth. Costwise it is affordable with probably the lowest cost per flight hour out there. The turn-around-time is also very impressive since it only takes a crew of five to re-armour and refuel it in less than 15 minutes, so it is not a “hangar queen”.

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