Air International 2002-08
M.English - Swedish developments /Industry/
Saab JAS 39 Gripen
Gripen Fv39201 is one of the final 20 Batch 2 aircraft to be upgraded on the production line to Batch 3 standard. Among the Batch 3 equipment fit is an in-flight refuelling probe and liquid-crystal multi-function colour displays.
Situational awareness has always been one of the most important factors in air warfare. During World War One Allied pilots were warned to beware of ‘the Hun in the sun’ and subsequent air wars proved that surprise was all-important. The vast majority of kills were by aircraft that had not been seen. With advances in missile performance, stealth technology and electronic countermeasures, air warfare has moved on apace. The Gripen’s advanced colour cockpit, which will enter service with the Svenska Flygvapnet later this year, features three 6in x 8in liquid-crystal multi-function displays and will give the pilot an even greater situational awareness than the current cockpit displays. Fitting the new displays required the front of the cockpit to be raised and the analogue stand-by instruments to be removed.
Evaluation of the EADS Eagle unmanned air vehicle is part of a six-month pre-study and a decision will be made in about a year's time as to the type of UAVs the Swedish armed forces want. Ground crew are seen here guiding the Eagle to its hangar at Kiruna after a test flight on the Vidsel test range.
Flight trials of NORA are currently being carried out with a JA 37D Viggen equipped with a radar comprising a number of PS-05A components and a Raytheon-supplied AESA antenna. The Viggen was chosen for its availability, ease of accommodating the radar and its performance capability. One of the trial's objectives is to study the effects of flutter at high speed.
Mid-air collisions are a constant hazard in high intensity air combat training, even though flight safety is paramount and exercise regulations reduce the risk as much as possible. Trials have recently been carried out from Linkoping on an automatic aircraft collision avoidance system that will command an aircraft on a collision course with another, to carry out an automatic collision avoidance escape manoeuvre.
Further development of MIDAS could lead to a miniaturised system being fitted to unmanned combat air vehicles. These could be used in conjunction with manned lead aircraft, such as the JAS 39D, for hazardous roles such as SEAD.
In addition to equipping the Svenska Flygvapnet’s Saab 340 Argus, the Erieye radar has been integrated on the Embraer EMB-145 and sold to Brazil, Greece and Mexico. The Flygvapnet data links the radar picture to receivers in the network centric-based defence system, whereas Brazil, Greece and Mexico carry radar operators/controllers in their aircraft.