So many countries, with so many aerospace companies! Visitors shouldn’t be fooled by the panoply of European companies displaying at the Paris Air Show next week. The harsh truth is that there’s not enough money to sustain them all, especially with respect to defense technology. The European Defence Agency (EDA) commissioned a study of the problem–and reached some alarming conclusions.
A remotely controlled ATC tower constructed by Saab for Norway’s Avinor air navigation service has passed the site acceptance tests that will eventually allow for a smoother fit into the Sesar air traffic management system, Europe’s version of NextGen, once final testing of the facility’s operations is completed.
Late last week Saab received a second order from FMV, the Swedish defense material administration, for the development of the Gripen E fighter that is slated to form the combat equipment of the Swedish air force from 2018.
Faced with growing costs in the Lockheed Martin F-35 program, Denmark is reviewing its options for a new fighter and has invited Boeing (F/A-18 Super Hornet), Eurofighter (Typhoon) and Saab (Gripen E) to submit information for alternatives. A decision is due in 2015. Dassault (Rafale) may have been approached, but at the time of writing appeared unlikely to respond. The company has a history of not bidding on programs that it calculates have little chance of success.
Europe’s first unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) has flown. The Neuron technology demonstrator took off from the Dassault test base at Istres, France, at dawn on December 1. Dassault is the prime contractor, teamed with Alenia Aermacchi (Italy); EADS-CASA (Spain); Hellenic Aerospace Industries (Greece); Ruag (Switzerland); Saab (Sweden) and Thales (France).
AIN’s team of editors and reporters provided full coverage of the Farnborough International airshow this week. All the stories can be found online.
Saab and Selex Galileo revealed the Gripen NG’s new repositioning AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar for the first time in public here at the Farnborough International airshow. Selex Galileo delivered the preproduction ES-05 Raven radar to Saab on June 12. Five days later, in time for the show, it was fitted in the Gripen NG. A second identical radar, complete with repositioning system, is being retained at Selex Galileo’s Edinburgh facility for roof tests.
Having selected the Gripen E/F to fulfill its F-5 replacement requirement, the Swiss air force is calmly confident that the acquisition makes it through the political process unscathed. Lt. Gen. Markus Gygax, the air force chief of staff, spoke to AIN last month about his service’s plans for the machine.
Saab has brought its new-generation Gripen to the Farnborough International Airshow not as a demonstrator aircraft for potential new technologies, as previously, but as a systems prototype for the intended production Gripen NG, or Gripen E/F as it is also known. Designated as aircraft 39-7, the two-seat Gripen has new avionics and new cockpit installed, and just before Farnborough received the full-standard Selex Galileo ES-05 Raven e-scan radar, complete with repositioner. In this guise, 39-7 has become the avionics testbed for the Gripen E/F.
Saab is to establish an advanced training center for Gripen pilots at Overberg air force base in South Africa, the Swedish company announced this week. The center will act as a fighter weapons school and will specialize in honing the skills of experienced pilots. The first course will take place late next year, and the syllabus will focus on advanced multi-role aspects of Gripen operations.