Saab looks forward to a full swing Gripen test flight programme this year, with more Gripen test aircraft and production aircraft near completion, says Eddy De La Motte, head of Saab’s Gripen E/F business unit, during Saab’s annual Gripen Seminar held in Stockholm on March 27.
The third designated test aircraft, Gripen E 39-10, will be ready for its first test flight before mid-year. Saab will also get the “Gripen Demo” (Gripen E/F demonstrator 39-7) airframe up and running again.
According to Eddy, the Gripen Demo, which has been adapted to get the avionics of gripen E, will be used as a “flying simulator rig”. This will improve the pace of Gripen E testing programme.
Eddy says that Saab is very happy with the way Gripen E production programme has progressed. “We are on track with Gripen E production. Once the new production system is fully established, we will be able to complete up to 24 aircraft per year,” he added.
The first four production Gripen Es are currently in final assembly at Saab's Linkoping site. More tests will be conducted before the aircraft are delivered to the Swedish and the Brazilian Air Force towards the end of 2019, scaling up the programme further.
During the Gripen seminar, other speakers also gave an update on the Gripen testing programme. Jonas Hjelm, head of Saab’s aeronautics business area, for example, talked about the various tests that were conducted last year under the Gripen E programme.
“We have concentrated a lot on the flight envelope with the first test aircraft. Now we are gradually moving more and more into the tactical and sensor systems, and all that encompasses a complete aircraft,” Jonas said.
Watch the Gripen seminar here.