Second Gripen E test aircraft makes maiden flight


The second Gripen E test aircraft, designated 39-9, conducted its maiden flight on November 26, 2018.

The test flight was operated from Saab’s airfield at Linköping, Sweden, with Saab experimental test pilot Robin Nordlander at the controls.

He said, “Some people think being a test pilot is the most exciting job in the world and it should be. Flying Gripen E means breaking no sweat though, even on a maiden flight such as this.

“The flight was so smooth and 39-9 a real pleasure to pilot. I am looking forward to getting it back in the air again and soon putting the new systems to the test.”

During the 33-minute long flight, Nordlander carried out a number of actions to validate flight characteristics and parts of the aircraft, such as the software, life support system and radio system.

The Gripen E is billed by Saab as a next generation smart fighter and features the latest avionics, radar systems, and advanced communication features. The first test aircraft successfully completed its maiden flight over southern Sweden in June 2017.

Jonas Hjelm, head of the business area of Aeronautics for Saab said, “This new aircraft allows us to expand the trial activities as we test more functionality with on-board systems whilst, with two aircraft now flying, we are increasing the overall pace of testing.

“The program continues to deliver good progress and to generate interest. Our customers and others are keen to see and learn more about the capabilities Gripen E is going to give their pilots.”

The next phase in the test program for Gripen 39-9 is testing of the tactical systems and sensors.


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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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