Sweden's answer to the F-35 has taken its maiden flight, maker Saab has revealed.
During the 40-minute flight over the eastern parts of Östergötland, the latest Gripen executed a series of maneuvers to test its systems, including extending and retracting its landing gear. 
The Gripen E 'Smart Fighter' is aimed at markets not yet cleared to buy the troubled Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. 

the $85 million Gripen E or Gripen E/F is completely redesigned with an all-new avionics suite and software that allows it to be modified at short notice without extensive layovers. It's fully NATO interoperable and includes Network Centric Warfare (NCW) technology for advanced data communications, dual data links, satellite communications, and video links.

The E fighter, the sixth variant in the Gripen family, is slightly bigger than previous versions, has a stronger engine and updated radar systems.
It is designed to carry more weapons further, and to track multiple threats using the latest type of radar.
Weapons include guided glide bombs, long-range air-to-air missiles and heavy anti-ship armaments.
It also has a 27 mm Mauser BK27 gun, which can be used in air-to-surface attacks against land and sea targets.



'The flight was just as expected, with the aircraft performance matching the experience in our simulations,' pilot Marcus Wandt said after the flight.
'Its acceleration performance is impressive with smooth handling. 
'Needless to say I'm very happy to have piloted this maiden flight.' 
Like others in the range, the Gripen E has a delta wing and fly-by-wire flight avionics.

But unlike some others in the line, it has a greater fuel capacity, 20 per cent more thrust, more pylons, in-flight refuelling capability and increased take-off weight.
It has a 15.2 metre (50ft) long body has a wingspan of 8.6 metres (28ft) which allows it to manage a take-off weight of 16,500 kg (36.376lb).

It can reach Mach 2 (1,522 mph, 2,450 km/h) at high altitude with a turnaround time between missions of just ten minutes.
The aircraft's sensors include an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, Infra-Red Search and Track (IRST), Electronic Warfare (EW) suite and data link technology.
Saab claims that, combined, these sensors give 'the pilot, and co-operating forces exactly the information needed at all times.'

The new jet  is designed to carry more weapons further, and to track multiple threats using the latest type of radar. Weapons include guided glide bombs, long-range air-to-air missiles and heavy anti-ship armaments. It also has a 27 mm Mauser BK27 gun, which can be used in air-to-surface attacks against land and sea targets.
The new jet is designed to carry more weapons further, and to track multiple threats using the latest type of radar. Weapons include guided glide bombs, long-range air-to-air missiles and heavy anti-ship armaments. It also has a 27 mm Mauser BK27 gun, which can be used in air-to-surface attacks against land and sea targets. dailymail

About 500 people, including Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist and Brazilian air force commander Nivaldo Luiz Rossato, watched the rollout of the new Gripen E last week.
The event took place in Linkoping, about 105 miles (170km) southeast of Stockholm.

Selling for about $85 million excluding arms, the Gripen E is slightly cheaper than Rafale or Typhoon and significantly cheaper than the single-engined F-35, which is marketed for stealth

'The Gripen E ensures that Gripen as a brand keeps going against the Rafale, Typhoon and F-35,' said Francis Tusa, editor of Defence Analysis.
Selling for about $85 million excluding arms, the Gripen E is slightly cheaper than Rafale or Typhoon and significantly cheaper than the single-engined F-35, which is marketed for stealth, he added.
But critics say the Gripen lacks the flexibility of twin-engined rivals or the same geopolitical support as U.S., French or pan-European alternatives.

The aircraft, which is already proving in demand, has been in development for about 10 years. The first test flight is expected later this year.
Brazil has ordered 36 Gripen fighters for delivery between 2019 and 2024.
The revamped Gripen E is also one of five aircraft which has attracted Finland's interest as it weighs an order for dozens of jets, according to industry executives.
Boeing's F-18, Dassault Aviation's Rafale, Lockheed Martin's F-35 and the Eurofighter Typhoon, involving BAE Systems, may also be considered.

''The flight was just as expected, with the aircraft performance matching the experience in our simulations,' pilot Marcus Wandt said after the flight
''The flight was just as expected, with the aircraft performance matching the experience in our simulations,' pilot Marcus Wandt said after the flight

Saab said it is also monitoring possible fighter purchases in India, which some say could seek almost 100 warplanes once it completes a delayed order for 36 French Rafales.
'I think we have a very good opportunity in India. We can make an attractive offer that would suit the Indians with their Make in India concept,' Saab aeronautics head Ulf Nilsson said in an interview.
Earlier versions of the plane are in service in the air forces of Sweden, South Africa, Czech Republic, Hungary and Thailand. 


F-35 FIGHTER JET NOW HAS 'BRAIN' PROBLEM

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been hailed as the 'most expensive weapon in history' 
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been hailed as the 'most expensive
 weapon in history'  dailymail

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been hailed as the 'most expensive weapon in history.'
But despite a price tag of $400 billion for 2,457 planes, the fifth-generation fighter has been plagued with issues.
Now, a new report says problems with its logistics software system could ground the entire fleet.
The issue is with what the Department of Defense officials call the 'brains' of plane, also known as the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS).
A Government Accountability Office report says a failure 'could take the entire fleet offline' because there is no backup system.
The report also says a lack of testing done of the software will mean it's not ready for its deployment by the Air Force in August and the Navy in 2018.
The 'brains' of the F35 are one of three major components, with the other two being the engine and airframe.
CNN points out that the software runs on ground computers rather than operating on the plane itself.
It is designed to support operations, mission planning and to spot any maintenance issues with the vehicle.
'Program officials said that if ALIS is not fully functional, the F-35 could not be operated as frequently as intended,' the report said.
'But a DoD commissioned plan found that schedule slippage and functionality problems with ALIS could lead to $20-100 billion in additional costs.'
So far, the software has been so flawed that maintenance crews have had to resort labour-intensive alternatives. dailymail

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