Speaking about support and training, Ellen Molin, head of business area support & services, put in evidence, as the company is investing in expanding the training support to customers, that “Saab has recently entered in a win-win agreement and joint efforts with the Swedish Armed Forces and the FMV. The purpose of this agreement is to cooperate on existing and coming training needs related to Gripen. The solution will exploit resources and competences in the best possible way, which will benefit all stakeholders involved. The cooperation has resulted in a new pilot Training Academy at the Swedish Air Force’s F7 Wing in Såtenäs, Sweden”, highlighted the company’s representative. The agreement was signed one month ago [February 2020], but the preparations said Saab to EDR Online after the seminar, started last year recruiting flight instructors and maintenance personnel, putting them through standardization training. The Gripen Training Academy uses the infrastructures and simulator tools of the Swedish Air Force F7 Wing in Såtenäs, while Saab adds mission support systems (MSS) and a limited number of ground support equipment (GSE). The Training Academy is manned by pilots/instructors from both the Air Force and Saab. The latter personnel have a background within the Air Force, being all “ex-military” pilots. This also goes for the maintenance which is provided by the Air Force but assisted by technicians from Saab on both O-and I-level. The technicians from Saab however are a mix of “ex-military” and technicians with a civil background. The Gripen Training Academy has, during 2019, assisted in the training of Swedish Gripen student pilots and is currently training pilots from the Czech Republic and Hungary. The current focus within the Gripen Training Academy is the Gripen C/D version, but initial planning for the forthcoming training on the Gripen E has started. Pilots from the Czech Republic and Hungary continue to be trained on the Gripen C/D version as this is part of the current contract set-up, while the Brazilian pilots will commence their training during the third-quarter of 2020, said Saab. The number of aircraft, or rather the number of flight hours, is defined by the training need.
Looking to the maintenance and support evolution, in addition to the virtual maintenance training tools, which will be used for the upcoming training course for Brazilian personnel to start next year, “Saab is testing and evaluating the use of 3D-printed spare parts for aircraft battle damage repair activities”. The idea is to use a transportable container-based workshop to scan and print temporary parts quickly, install them on the aircraft and allow it to fly home, where these parts will be replaced when available. The company’s representative also highlighted that Saab delivered a Deployable Maintenance Facility (DAM) to the Hungarian Air Force last December. The DAM is a mobile solution that enables enhanced maintenance capacity for fighters and other types of aircraft. It includes a deployable hangar with a number of containerized maintenance and support workshops to self-support Gripens in out-of-area operations or when required, under the well-known Saab’s Barracuda multispectral camouflage protection.