A Workhorse for the Indian Air Force
Besides performance, high availability was one of the main drivers during the development of Gripen E. And that’s what makes it the right fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF). With India’s vast borders consisting of high and low -altitude areas, an aircraft that can operate out of varied terrains is crucial for the Air Force. A modern fighter in every sense of the term, Gripen is self-sufficient with the ability to be combat-ready in a few minutes. Vayu elaborates more on it in a special Aero India edition.
Designed to achieve minimum logistical footprint, Gripen E features an impressive turnaround of less than 10 minutes without the need for a large number of technicians and personnel. In addition to that, the necessary maintenance steps are easy and quick to perform, and can be done using simple tools. Even more impressive is the fact that replacing complex avionic equipment such as the radar or changing the engine can be accomplished under an hour.
"Gripen E is the ideal workhorse for the IAF with very high availability and is always mission and combat-ready," says Mats Palmberg, Head of the Gripen India campaign. "We see Gripen meeting the IAF’s requirements of an aircraft that can be deployed in large numbers, has high fleet availability and can be deployed from forward bases and high altitudes, and can multiply their operational impact by sharing information," Mats adds.
Coming back to the tools necessary for the aircraft's maintenance, "You only need a flashlight to check the oil levels and don't need any equipment to open any hatches because there are quick hatches," explains Per Sverker, Maintenance Manager, Test Hangar, at Saab's facilities in Linkoping, Sweden.
Having been designed for Swedish requirements in the beginning, Gripen was made to execute operations not only from small bases such as road strips, but also from extremely short or battle-damaged runways. The aircraft can take off and land on runways that are just 800 meters long and 16 meters wide.
"The aircraft is a force multiplier that can work along with the existing fleet to secure India's airspace 24x7," Mats says.