How Gripen Beats Harsh Weather Conditions
When it comes to deploying fighter aircraft in cold regions like Ladakh, one must take into account the fighter's capability to operate in harsh weather conditions. Saab's Gripen is built to handle extreme weather; cold and hot. In a recent video series, Let's Talk About Tech, Saab details out the cold weather tests that Gripen routinely goes through. So, how do you land 16 tons of high tech at 180 knots on an ice covered runway?
If ice builds up on outer parts, military fighter aircraft usually rely on going at a higher speed which creates friction that results in temperature increase. It is worth noting that besides winter climate, flying at high altitudes can also lead to an ice build-up. For de-icing of the internal parts, Gripen features special heating modes to do the job.
One major issue that fighter aircraft often face in extreme weather conditions is that their ability to start is hampered. As a part of cold weather test, Gripen is tested regularly to make sure cold start is not an issue. It is checked if the fighter can take-off and land on surfaces with low friction making sure each component moves as per the requirements. The tests usually start with less external loads and slower speeds and are moved up to heavier loads and increased speeds.
"The success of these Cold weather tests shows how Gripen is designed to adapt to the weather of countries across the globe. The Indian Air Force has a unique requirement of a fighter aircraft that can handle both hot and severe cold weather. The fact that the platform is running successfully in countries that are worlds apart in terms of climate, like Sweden and Thailand, proves that Gripen will be the right fit for India," says Mats Palmberg, Vice President, Industrial Partnerships, Saab, and head of Gripen India campaign.
Watch this space to know how Gripen handles hot weather conditions.