Maximizing time in the air can help an air force achieve air dominance and secure their airspace better. One of the many reasons why a Gripen fighter can achieve that is its refueling capabilities. Gripen can perform both in-flight and hot refueling in between missions, which can help the air forces to be airborne for longer and maximise operational effect.
For a country like Brazil, with a territory of over 8 million square kilometres, in-flight refueling becomes mandatory. “You can imagine the impact it will have to have an aircraft that can fly over Rio de janeiro for 12 hours, covers that airspace the entire time instead of having to go down to refuel while another aircraft takes its place,” says Jonas Jakobsson, Test pilot, Saab. “Practically in every mission and in every scenario in which Gripen might be involved in, it will use this capability,” he adds.
According to Col Av Renato Leite, Head of GAC, Saab, Brazilian Air Force, Gripen together with the Embraer military transport aircraft, KC-390, will together achieve in-flight refueling missions in the future. Their co-operation will enable Gripen reach far and wide withing the national territory while increasing its capacity to remain in combat.
Besides air-to-air refueling, Gripen's hot refueling capabilities also make it a true mission enabler in today's complex operating environment. “Hot refueling” basically means the refuelling of an aircraft on ground while its engine is still running. A Gripen carries out hot refuelling when a mission or an operation requires a quick turn-around. This helps the aircraft to keep a minimum downtime and be ready for the next sortie or mission as quickly as possible.
Watch the video on air-to-air refueling here.