Swiss Pilots Fly Gripen E/F Test Aircraft With Great Success
By Eddy Metcalf
May 8, 2012 - Under clear blue skies, a team of test
pilots and flight test engineers from the Swiss Air
Force and the Swiss federal defense procurement agency,
Armasuisse, visited Saab in Linköping in Sweden to
perform test flights with the Gripen E/F test aircraft.
On November 30th, last year the Federal Council selected
Gripen E/F as the preferred candidate to replace the
Swiss Air Force's ageing fleet of Northrop F-5E/F Tiger.
The Swiss Department of Defense, Civil Protection and
Sports (DDPS) was commissioned to start discussions with
Saab and the Swedish Government to optimize Saab's
offer. The negotiations continue according to plan and
the test flights in Sweden are part of the on-going
The three day program, conducted between May 2-4,
included simulator training and four test flights. The
test flights focused on air defense and air policing
mission profiles with different weapon configurations,
which included IRIS-T as well as both METEOR and AMRAAM.
“We tested the flight performance simulating an operational air
defense mission profile. The flight was packed with test points.
We were able to perform them all. A successful flight”, Lt Col
Fabio Antognini, Swiss Air Force.
“We performed flight performance tests using an air policing
scenario. We simulated a quick reaction alert and a maximum
performance intercept to high altitude and supersonic speed. We
tested the engine in the entire envelope and are pleased with
the results.” says Bernhard Berset, Chief Test Pilot at
The Gripen E/F test program is running according to plan. In the
upcoming fourth phase of testing, Saab continues to integrate
new leading-edge technologies which includes further enhancement
of the avionics and displays. The radar system will also be
further enhanced through the re-installation of a newer version
of the AESA radar.
The previous test phases have focused on areas such as flight handling, aerodynamics, performance improvements including the new GE F414G engine and increased weapon loads as well as the introduction of new sensors and new avionics in the aircraft.
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