Brazilian Gripen E Completes First Flight

Gripen E
First Brazilian Gripen E on its maiden flight. Saab.

SHAH ALAM: First Brazilian Gripen E Completes its First Flight. An export version of the Gripen E, for Brazil, conducted its flight on Aug. 26, according to Saab. The possible candidate for RMAF MRCA,
flew for the first time for a 65 minutes test flight.

From Saab:

Gripen E

First Brazilian Gripen E on its maiden flight. Saab.

Saab today completed a successful first flight with the first Brazilian Gripen E fighter aircraft, 39-6001. At 2.41 pm CET on August 26, the Gripen E aircraft took off on its maiden flight flown by Saab test pilot Richard Ljungberg. The aircraft operated from Saab´s airfield in Linköping, Sweden.

The duration of the flight was 65 minutes and included test points to verify basic handling and flying qualities at different altitudes and speeds. The main purpose was to verify that the aircraft behavior was according to expectations.

“This milestone is a testament to the great partnership between Sweden and Brazil. Less than five years since the contract was signed, the first Brazil Gripen has conducted her first flight,” says Håkan Buskhe, President and CEO of Saab.

This aircraft is the first Brazilian production aircraft and will be used in the joint test program as a test aircraft. The main differences compared to the previous test aircraft are that 39-6001 has a totally new cockpit layout, with a large Wide Area Display (WAD), two small Head Down Displays (sHDD) and a new Head Up Display (HUD). Another major difference is an updated flight control system with updated control laws for Gripen E. It also includes modifications both in hardware and software.

“For me as a pilot it has been a great honour to fly the first Brazilian Gripen E aircraft as I know how much this means for the Brazilian Air Force and everyone at Saab and our Brazilian partners. The flight was smooth and the aircraft behaved just as we have seen in the rigs and simulators. This was also the first time we flew with the Wide Area Display in the cockpit, and I am happy to say that my expectations were confirmed,” says Saab test pilot Richard Ljungberg.

39-6001 will now join the test programme for further envelope expansion as well as testing of tactical system and sensors.

39-6001 will be designated F-39 in the Brazilian Air Force and will have the tail number 4100.

Saab
First Brazilian Gripen E landing after its first flight. Saab

The first ever flight of the Gripen E happened on June 15, 2017. With another two Gripen Es on flight test, the first Brazilian Gripen E is the fourth version undergoing the same tests.

Gripen E

With RMAF MRCA programme delayed to 2030, the Gripen E remained a potential candidate. A possible candidate? Yes with the government looking to barter trade palm oil for arms, who knows whether Saab will be interested to even put forward a proposal when the competition is open up for bids.

— Malaysian Defence

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26 Comments

  1. 2030.

    What kind of fighters will be around in 2030?

    There would probably be thousands of F-35 already built. Singapore should have its 1st F-35 squadron operational by then.

    China would have multiple squadrons of J-20. Carrier based J-31 versions would probably already operational then.

    Indonesia, as the economically strongest south east asian nation then, would have built plenty its own stealthy K-FX versions, replacing its F-16s.

    Vietnam would by then already bought the Su-57E, as the export version is going to be shown in MAKS 2019 any day from now.

    Turkey probably has completed its TF-X by then.

    So in 2030 would you be excited to buy a Gripen E? If we are in 2030 to still be in deep trouble that we need to barter our palm oil, our country is to be the worst economy in SEA.

    Reply
    Yes I am still excited with the Gripen E in 2030. The other planes you mentioned apart from the F35, Russia and China ones remained paper planes as off now, who knows whether they’ll be actual flying planes or not.

  2. If we’re going to get it in 2030, then nope. Because it would soon come up against 5th gen stealth fighters. Better to wait and stump up for our own 5th gen fighters as well.

  3. @ marhalim

    Russian and china only paper planes?

    Russia will be showing its Su-57 export version in MAKS 2019 today.

    China already has 1 operational squadron of J-20

    Korean / indonesian KF-X first flight is planned in June 2022 (you know how koreans work dont you?)

    The paper planes are the TF-X, Tempest (which sweden has joined as a partner), airbus/dassault New Generation Fighter (NGF).

  4. What is the point of purchasing expensive-to-maintain fighters that we cannot afford than practical reliable aircrafts that really patrolling our air space routinely?

    Reply
    Because we did not allocate enough funds to maintain them properly. As for the Flankers apart from the lack of money we are also operating a specialised variant that needs more care than we actually prepared for though it appears that we have turn the corner

  5. “China already has 1 operational squadron of J-20”

    So they say, but the fact is they are still experimenting with the concept and evaluating the aircraft itself. Until they have, the aircraft won’t be built in large numbers. It might be a follow on design that gets built instead.

    “Russia will be showing its Su-57 export version in MAKS 2019 today.”

    Yes but development is far from complete. The Russians will have to push on with it because they have no other next generation design going for them. I would say much progress would have been made by 2030, but would not speculate on which specific customers would have bought it.

    “Indonesia, as the economically strongest south east asian nation then, would have built plenty its own stealthy K-FX versions, replacing its F-16s.”

    They’ve withdrawn from the project. ROK will be going it alone, IMO this a good thing for the final product because the design won’t be diluted by conflicting requirements.

    “So in 2030 would you be excited to buy a Gripen E? ”

    I won’t rule it out for us. The fact is that conventional aircraft have roles to play in concert with low observable aircraft and all the other necessary assets, and that some countries might well have no requirement at all for the latter, even if they can afford it. No country is going to have an all low-observable fleet.

    Even if we did get a next generation platform, it wouldn’t be the solution to everything we need and it won’t be something we could afford to fly every day. Meaning we would need a Gripen, Viper, Super Hornet or something else.

  6. Really liking the Gripen E/F especially with those wide area display. Been watching their YT channel and see their collaboration with Brazillian company, it’s so profesionally done if I’m being honest. Personally, I would rather take Gripen any day than Rafale or Typhoon.

  7. @ AM

    ” The fact is that conventional aircraft have roles to play in concert with low observable aircraft and all the other necessary assets, and that some countries might well have no requirement at all for the latter, even if they can afford it. No country is going to have an all low-observable fleet ”

    Obviously we cannot have an all low-observable fleet.

    We currently have our MKMs, and we are going to get our LCA/LIFT. Su-30SM now has renewed upgrade focus by the Russians, with plenty of Su-35 tech going into the Su-30SM. Things that can be put into the MKM too.

    MKM could be used up to 2040 at least. LCA/LIFT should be usable up to 2060. The future MRCA should have a capability different to the LCA/LIFT and MKMs. That could be just 1 thing, stealth. Gripen E does not bring any significant advantage to MKM or LCA/LIFT.

  8. I agree wirh AM. Even in America itself they cannot afford an all stealth fleet. This is due to stealth is bought with trade offs in terms of flying qualities. So in terms of air to air combat the US still keeps the F 16s, F 15s n the FA 18 super bugs.

  9. joe – “. Because it would soon come up against 5th gen stealth fighters”

    Even so but if we at that stage have an AEW and other ISR assets: this will to an extent offset some advantages a 5th gen platform will have. Air
    warfare is increasingly becoming “systems” based.

    Even if we by 2030 or later; got a 5th gen platform; we would only be able to exploit its full potential if we got an AEW and if all our assets were operating in a fully networked environment.

  10. 2030 is a long way ahead..although it will be interesting to see what will become to gripen E at that time. hopefully someone in govt already plan the future budget for MRCA rather than wet dream and saying it. better have the money and will first then talk.

    Mr marhalim, any news about LCA or MPA??about the allocated budget maybe…its too silent..

  11. @Azlan
    I do wonder; if more powerful ground based radars would have trouble detecting 5th gen planes, how more effective would an AEW with a less powerful radar?
    Regardless, I do agree we still need AEW but not because of 5th gen adversaries. We would need 5th gen planes to handle them and since as usual we’re not gonna buy a lot of them, might as well stump up for 5th gen fighters that wouldn’t get obsolete too quickly.

  12. I think if we bought more Sukhoi,then the maintenance service from Russian would get better regarding our experience operating the Migs and Sukhois.Get another batch of 18-24 SU30MKM and we should have a very good squadrons of those.

    Reply
    Not really, Indian Air Force got more Flankers than us they still complained about the slow pace of parts coming from Russia

  13. Stealth or not stealth no big deals, no mater stealth still can be trace via infrared sensor and not stealth aircraft still difficult to lock on…..what the different is? i still prefer JAS39E/F Gripen or F/A-18E/F Super Hornet (My big fans)…..both used similar engines and could be avionics too.., F-35 is failure project due to budget to high…Dassault Rafale is not stealth aircraft but can be invisible on enemy radar due to its THALES SPECTRAL EW sensor…i think for now RMAF should go for JAS39E Gripen for the moment includes with GLOBALEYES AEWS system …..wait until other fifths or sixths generation MRCA become matures in coming 2030 years….

  14. joe – “how more effective would an AEW with a less powerful radar”

    We would still need an AEW for early warning and battle space management. It can see further than a ground based radar.

    joe – “Regardless, I do agree we still need AEW but not because of 5th gen adversaries”

    A legacy platform operating alongside a AEW in a networked environment would mitigate some of the advantages a 5th platform has. If it comes to a case of a legacy platform operating alongside a AEW going against a 5th fen platform operating on its own; the legacy platform works still have superior SA.

    joe – “ might as well stump up for 5th gen fighters that wouldn’t get obsolete too quickly”

    It’s not the platform but the “systems” that count. If we get 5th gen platforms (which by themselves are not a panacea despite their LO) but not a AEW; we wouldn’t be able to get the most out of the capabilities a 5th gen platform offers.

    Also there’s nothing to say that even if we get a 5th gen platform,
    it “wouldn’t get obsolete too quickly”. The trick is to keep up with the times by upgrading their hardware and software on schedule. Keeping up with the latest advancements and upgrades on offer.

  15. Pracxis,

    Two main problems here – (1) Cash for maintenance and spares do not come on time (2) The MKMs are maintenance intensive and the fact we operate in small numbers a variant containing systems only operated by us and no one else; is an issue.

    Even without all the modifications, the Su-27/Su-30 is a large maintenance intensive aircraft. That in turns soaks up resources which are limited in the first place.

    No point buying follow on MKMs or anything else for that matter if support issues continue to be a problem and if funding for depot level maintenance and spares are delayed.

  16. …. – “Gripen E does not bring any significant advantage to MKM“

    From an operational and support perspective Gripen comes ahead. Not only is it cheaper to fly and maintain on account of having a single engine; it also has a smaller logistical/support footprint.

    Logistical/support wise the MKM is a headache as there is a long list of suppliers/OEMs/vendors for various the systems/components/avionics we selected. The Gripen will have a smaller footprint and will not (same goes with any other Western type) require any major integration and certification for stuff that is unique to us.

    I’m not into making direct comparisons as we’ve gone past the platform centric stage with regards to modern air warfare and I don’t have a preference as to what we should eventually get (being networked is a major criteria) but one major advantage Gripen has is a smaller RCS on account of being a smaller platform. The MKM has a RCS the size of a barn door.

  17. Fadiman – “Stealth or not stealth no big deals, no mater stealth still can be trace via infrared sensor and not stealth aircraft still difficult to lock on…..what the different is”

    The proper term is “low observable” (LO); the term “stealth” is misleading. Whilst I would be the first to agree that LO platforms are not a panacea and don’t automatically render all legacy platforms totally obsolete; there are major advantages. A LO platform will have a much reduced RCS; it will be harder to detect and track and detection times will be reduced.

    Many continue to put emphasis on the actual platform but it’s important to note that all 5th gen platforms from the very onset were intended to be networked with other assets; to operate as part of a networked environment in which all assets will share data and have a common picture in order to achieve superior SA.

    This is important as air combat is highly dependent on who defects who first and on who fires first.
    As such, the actual 5th gen platform is only part of the equation.

  18. “the legacy platform works still have superior SA.”
    I would state that I personally have some doubts. SA is depending on first detection and subsequent tracking. If the AEW would have difficulty to detect and track 5th gen planes(the gist of their existence), its SA is compromised because then that 5th gen plane would have long detected the presence of the AEW. Take out their ‘eyes’ and the legacy fighters would be sitting ducks. (Part of 5th gen tech is long range AESA radar onboard to detect early presence before the range is close enough for adversary radar to discover the 5th gen plane).

    “The trick is to keep up with the times by upgrading their hardware and software on schedule.”
    That is true, but electronics are only half the equation in a 5th gen plane as the airframe needs to be designed for radar evading. Those 4.5gen planes are not as efficient in doing so, which is why 5th gen adopts angular surfacing onto the airframes, and the very complex shapes of the air intakes. Get the aircraft with the right airframe and we can later worry about keeping the electronics current.

  19. So we can conclude buying Russian jets is not an option (at least not for the next MRCA programe)
    -previous gov under Hisham dis mention Typhoon..its super expensive jet.Any idea how many jets we are talking about here? Considering we still have a big gaping hole of retired Migs.

    Reply
    MRCA is for 18 aircraft

  20. @Pracxis
    “So we can conclude buying Russian jets is not an option”
    Never say never with Madey’s government (before and now). But I prefer if we can resolve MH17 issue to a satisfying conclusion to all parties before making detente with Russia. The Mig role should have been covered with the Kuwaiti Hornets, if we had the will to buy them.

  21. Pracxis,

    Under the previous government different platforms were the preferred options at different times. At one point Gripen had strong backing (during the same period the RMAF spoke of a leasing arrangement iff funds were not forthcoming but this was rejected by the government), then Typhoon, then Rafale. All depended on the politics of the day.

    It wasn’t the previous Defence Minister who went gaga about Typhoon but the previous one, before him. The previous one never publicly indicated any preference.

    All current gen jets are “expensive”… Both to buy and operate. There is no such thing as “cheap”; one gets what one pays for. In fact current gen jets are much more expensive to maintain on account of all the systems fitted, which in turn need test/support equipment. Current gen jets also need much higher end human resources to maintain.

  22. joe – “the Mig role should have been covered with the Kuwaiti Hornets, if we had the will to buy them”

    “If” the RMAF decided it was the best route to take as an interim solution (despite whatever penalties there in buying aged pre owned platforms) and “if” the government, after weighting all the political factors; agreed.

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