Model based development leads the way

Since the unveiling of Gripen E in May 2016, the programme has seen great progress. Validation and verification activities such as tests in rigs and simulators have been performed and the ground test period is in full swing. The way model based development has been implemented, has been successful. "Power on" and engine starts are just two examples of important milestones that has been accomplished during the last months.

With Gripen E, Saab has taken all the knowledge and experience from more than 75 years of building aircraft and put it into a fighter designed to adapt to changing threats and operational requirements, such as bigger areas to defend and new threat scenarios.

Gripen E has a revolutionary avionics system which ensures that the future is built in from the beginning. The avionics system separates flight critical functions from tactical features allowing customers to update the system and so get the latest capabilities faster and at lower risk. Future upgrades, changes and functionalities can be made by adding “apps” without needing to requalify the entire system.

-          We are encouraged about the progress in the programme. The aircraft is responding really well to all our test and verification activities. Since the rollout in May, we have performed major milestones such as powering on the aircraft and engine start. What is left before we can take off, is software qualification to formally prove what we already informally know through our extensive testing, says Lars Ydreskog, Head of Operations at the Aeronautics business area.

Qualification at an early stage

Right now, a lot of time is spent testing the new avionics system in the avionics rig - a Gripen cockpit connected to the new avionics system.

-          This is as close as you get to real flying so it is a really good method of mission rehearsal for pilot, hardware and software. We see that the Saab approach to model based development is very useful at this stage because our very accurate computer based models can challenge the system in a very realistic way. We see very good stability in our avionics rig, says Hans Einerth, wing commander flying at Saab.

The good progress on the Gripen E programme has allowed Saab to take the decision to perform full software qualification of the system architecture before first flight with the first test aircraft instead of partial qualification which is the normal industry praxis.

-          We feel really confident in our new avionics architecture. Encouraged by the progress in the programme we saw the opportunity to qualify it to the highest standard before first flight. This is unseen in the fighter industry, but we have decided to go in this direction as we are confident that it will minimize risk, benefit the complete flight test programme and ensure a stable avionic platform when the flight test period starts, says Lars Ydreskog.