The ground testing of the Saab Gripen E combat jet is continuing ahead of its first flight scheduled for Q2 2017.
Validation and verification activities such as tests in rigs and simulators have been performed. Since roll-out of first prototype 39-8 in May 2016, major milestones such as powering on the aircraft and engine start were achieved.
Currently the prototype is undergoing engine ground testing of its GE F414G afterburning turbofan engine. The 22,000 lb (98kN) rated engine has a 20% thrust increase over the present F404 engine.
According to Lars Ydreskog, Saab’s head of aeronautics operations, the primary task to complete before the first flight is software qualification to formally prove it through the extensive testing. Saab has delayed flying the fighter by six months so it can perfect the aircraft’s avionics software.
Called the DIMA (distributed integrated modular avionics), this advanced software will make the Gripen E future-proof, enabling it to integrate new functions without modifying the aircraft’s flight-critical software.
Saab believes it is on track to deliver the first Gripen E in 2019 and Sweden and Brazil have respectively ordered 60 and 36 of these smart fighter jets. Brazilian delivery will be completed by 2024.
Flight testing will involve four prototypes, of which three are in final stage of assembly. Due to extensive use of ground-based test rigs and many technologies proved using the earlier Gripen demonstrator aircraft 39-7, Saab estimates the flight test to require only one-third the time that was needed in the development of the current Gripen C/D versions.
November 30, 2016