Defense and security company Saab has completed the maiden flight of its Gripen E “smart” fighter, the Sweden-based company said.
"Today we have flown this world class fighter aircraft for the first time. We achieved it with the fully qualified software for the revolutionary avionics system. This is about giving our customers a smart fighter system with the future designed in from the start,” said Jonas Hjelm, SVP and head of Saab Business Area Aeronautics. “The flight test activities will continue to build on this achievement with the programme on track to achieve the 2019 delivery schedule to our Swedish and Brazilian customers."
Flown by a Saab test pilot, the aircraft took off from Saab's airfield in Linköping, Sweden, and flew over the eastern parts of Östergötland. The flight totaled 40 minutes, during which the Gripen E demonstrated retracting and extending of the landing gear, and other actions.
The Gripen E is based on the Gripen C/D platform. It is NATO interoperable, and is designed for network-centric warfare (NCW). It has air-to-air and air-to-surface combat capability, and has an AESA radar, IRST passive sensor and helmet-mounted display (HMD). Saab said Gripen E features “cutting-edge avionics, next generation data processing and state-of-the-art cockpit.”