Saab Gripen E combat aircraft has successfully completed its first flight from the Linköping production facility in Sweden on 15 June.
The maiden sortie with prototype aircraft 39-8 lasted 40min and was performed by test pilot Marcus Wandt. “The flight was just as expected, with the aircraft performance matching the experience in our simulations,” says Wandt. “Its acceleration is impressive, with smooth handling.”
“During the flight, the aircraft carried out a number of actions to demonstrate various test criteria, including the retracting and extending of the landing gear,” Saab says.
Prototype aircraft 39-8 will be used mainly for airframe and general flight control tests, a second prototype (39-9) will be used as a tactical systems testbed, while the third and final single-seat prototype (39-10) will fly as a production-standard airframe. The twin-seat Gripen NG demonstrator (39-7) will continue to serve as a general test platform throughout the flight trials effort.
As previously highlighted by Saab, the Gripen E’s enhancements over the earlier C/D models can be categorised in terms of survivability, sensors, general systems, payload, communications, performance, range, avionics, and human-machine interface/sensor fusion.
Sweden is due to receive the first of 60 Gripen Es in 2019, with deliveries running through to 2026. The Brazilian Air Force has also ordered 28 Gripen Es and 6 two-seat Gripen Fs.