Embraer conducted a ceremonial rollout of the prototype KC-390 airlifter at Gaviao Peixoto in Brazil on October 21. The company said that more than 30 countries were represented at the event, and that guests included Brazilian defense minister Celso Amorim and air force commander Bg Gen Juniti Saito. First flight is planned by year-end, with deliveries starting two years later. A second prototype is also being built.
Saab JAS 39 Gripen
During last week’s African Aerospace and Defence show in South Africa Denel Dynamics revealed that the Marlin active radar-guided missile will undertake its first flight test early next year. This will be a ground-launched ballistic trial at the Overberg Test Range to examine the missile’s basic flight systems. Successful completion of this phase will lead to programmed tests of the missile’s guidance systems, before closed-loop guidance tests are undertaken, in which the seeker controls the guidance system.
The Swedish defence export agency FXM announced that the Saab Gripen will not be entered for Denmark’s new fighter competition. Denmark has issued an 800-page “Request for Binding Information” (RBI) on alternatives to the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter; it is one of two international F-35 partners that has not yet committed to the program. The Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon are the other contenders in Denmark.
The integration of new weapons on some combat aircraft has become so expensive that European Defence Agency (EDA) held a workshop to discuss the problem. But Saab (Hall 4 Stand E5 and Chalet C35) has some helpful suggestions, based on its experience with the Gripen. The Swedish fighter served as the development platform for the Iris-T and Meteor air-to-air missiles, and other weapons were successfully added on time and budget.
Some seven months after Brazil’s selection of the Saab Gripen NG in December 2013 to fulfill the country’s F-X2 new fighter requirement, Embraer and Saab announced on Friday a memorandum of understanding to partner in delivering the program for the Brazilian air force.
Saab has completed integration of the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM on the Gripen. Next year the Swedish air force fighter will be the first to go operational with the new missile, according to Saab. The Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon will also carry the Meteor. The Gripen previously conducted the first eight developmental test firings of the ramjet-boosted missile.
Swiss citizens have rejected their government’s plan to buy 22 Saab Gripen E combat aircraft in a referendum. The verdict was not unexpected, since recent opinion polls had shown a majority against the plan, despite its previous approval by the Swiss parliament. However, the “no” vote majority was only 53.4 percent. Under Switzerland’s unique version of democracy, many significant and/or controversial matters of public policy are decided in this way.
Selex ES announced it recently carried out successful end-to-end trials of its BriteCloud expendable decoy program, launched last November in conjunction with partner Saab, which is pitching BriteCloud as an electronic warfare option for the Gripen fighter. The announcement comes days after Saab revealed it had begun flight-tests with Selex ES’s Skyward G infrared search and track (IRST) system. The Finmeccanica group company is also supplying the ES-05 Raven AESA radar for the new-generation Gripen E.
On February 17 the co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 hijacked the aircraft single-handedly and flew to Geneva airport to seek political asylum. Although both Italian and French aircraft were scrambled to escort the 767, the fighters of the Swiss Air Force remained firmly on the ground. A Swiss air force spokesman confirmed that no interceptors were on alert at the time, as the air force operates to office hours only, or by special notification. However, the air force was keen to point out that it could have generated interceptor sorties given more warning.
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