By Luca Peruzzi
With the delivery of the first two serial production Gripen-E and the flight-characteristics test campaign having proceeded according to plan, the Saab’s new generation multirole combat aircraft Gripen E/F testing programme is now focused on validating the aircraft’s mission systems, while production, assembly and training activities are ramping-up, looking to current and new customers.
Speaking at Saab’s annual Gripen Seminar on 26 March, the company’s head of business unit Gripen E/F, Eddy de la Motte, said that, with flight-characteristic test having proceeded according to plan, the main focus is now on validating the aircraft’s mission and sensor systems. “We have today six aircraft involved in the flight testing”, de la Motte said, and “we are proceeding according to plan and are delivering according to our customers’ expectations. We are really now accelerating our test programme. During the last 12 months (since the last seminar) we passed the 100 and 200 test-flying hours milestones and more recently, just a couple of weeks ago, we passed 300 test flying hours in our test programme. In June last year we flew our latest test aircraft 39-10 and we are now shifting focus to more testing of tactical systems and sensors”, he explained. The Saab representative was referring to the four test aircraft, including the 39-8 having been used mainly for airframe and general flight control tests, the 39-9 focused as a tactical systems testbed, while the 39-10 flew as the first production-standard airframe. The 39-7 NG demonstrator that has been used mainly for the programme risk-mitigation, was more recently fitted with E-standard avionics and functionality, including a fully configured rear-cockpit, before returning to flight trials. These four dedicated test platforms were joined by the first serial production aircraft 6001 and 6002 respectively for the Brazilian and Swedish MoDs, delivered respectively by Saab in September and December 2019.
All photos courtesy Saab