In It For The Long Haul

In order for Gripen to stay relevant, Saab does not stay confined within the limits of aeronautical technology, but also draws inspiration from the outside world- the automotive industry, artificial intelligence in general, and the gaming industry, to name a few, according to Saab’s Chief Technology Officer Lisa Åbom.

“By looking into the future and analyzing the kind of technology that will be in use or in trend, we make sure that we have the ability to implement those technologies in our existing platforms or new platforms,” says Lisa Åbom during the Gripen seminar 2019, held in Stockholm.

She also highlights three key technology areas that are important while developing Gripen, a fighter that will stay modern in the years to come:

Compact and efficient platform

This simply means an optimum usage of all the space that is available inside the aircraft, for functions, equipment, and fuel. Also, it’s important to be ready to handle the energy part as well. “Every new sensor that is added, it needs to be powered and cooled. Energy management is crucial,” she says.

Autonomous Systems

The battle space will be much more rapid in the future and a lot of information will have to be handled much quicker. We need to find ways to help the pilot make right decisions. Autonomous systems will be able to sort out, and simplify the data that is presented to the pilot, and even make some of the decisions for the pilot during the flight.

Development and low-volume production

The production of Gripen is considered a specialized work where every aspect of it is tailored towards the specifics of the requirements involved, and is done in a cost-efficient way. During the design phase, with model based systems, Saab uses a lot more simulation, a lot more AI to enhance its abilities to be cost-efficient.

“Up until 2050-2060, Gripen will continuously be enhanced with the latest technologies. And that stands true for both the actual platform and other platforms flying in combination with Gripen that could be manned or unmanned,” says Lisa.

Watch the Gripen seminar here.