“An air battle is all about getting inside your enemy’s OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) loop,” says Stefan Engstrom, former Gripen Pilot and Director, Sales & Marketing, Gripen, Business Area Aeronautics.
During the Gripen seminar held on 14th Feb, 2019, New Delhi, India, Stefan explains how Gripen’s combat capability supports the OODA loop concept. The OODA loop is a cycle that was developed by military strategist and United States Air Force Colonel, John Boyd.
“Gripen is packed with the latest technologies. With AESA radar, IRST and new EW sensors, a Gripen pilot will most likely be the first to detect an enemy. But you don’t work alone, you work together with other Gripens or other units. This allows you to form a network, leading to effective combat synergies. With all these systems together, you can see the unseen. After all, everything has a signature. Advanced sensors from air, ground, navy, and other systems can all be collaborated, making physical stealth irrelevant,” says Stefan.
Once the pilot has all the information, the next step is to be able to understand and use that information to win the battle. “All the accumulated information is of no use to me if I can’t understand it. While operating a legacy aircraft, you will find that the information you have received, is all over the place. It’s very difficult for the pilot to assimilate so much information in one single picture. But with Gripen’s smart HMI, we can do that,” he says.
With a superior situational awareness, you get a base time to take the right decision. The automated decision support further helps the pilot to act promptly. “Gripen E will help the pilot to make correct decisions faster and still be in control of the fighter intuitively. Fighter intelligence will help in assessing maneuvers or prioritizing targets, which will decrease the workload of the pilot,” says Stefan.
Gripen has an onboard integrated EW system. It doesn’t interfere with the dynamics of the fighter or takes up space meant for weapon systems. This means a Gripen operator has freedom to integrate weapons of their choice. “With the latest weapon systems and the advanced EW system onboard, Gripen E will kill and survive, and not kill or survive,” Stefan says.