Gripen’s Refuelling Capabilities Make it a True Mission Enabler
To achieve air dominance, maximum time in the air is essential for any Air Force. Gripen’s refuelling capabilities like air-to-air refuelling and hot refuelling enable the operating Air Force to stay airborne longer. Season 3, episode 4 of True Collaboration talks about how Gripen’s air-to-air refuelling capabilities are ideal for a country like Brazil to have better control of its airspace.
“Brazil is a country with a territory of over 8 million square kilometres. If we look at what we call ‘Dimension 22’ where we have 22 million sq km, in-flight refuelling becomes mandatory,” says Lte Col Av Renato Leite, Head of GAC, Saab, Brazilian Air Force. According to him, Gripen and KC-390 pair will be of crucial importance for the Brazilian Air Force. Together they can achieve in-flight refuelling missions which will enable Gripen to reach any point within the national territory, in addition to increasing its capacity to remain in combat.
“You can imagine the impact it will have if an aircraft that can fly over Rio de janeiro for 12 hours, covers that airspace the entire time instead of having to go down to refuel while another aircraft takes its place,” says Jonas Jakobsson, Test pilot, Saab. “Practically in every mission and in every scenario in which Gripen might be involved in, it will use this capability,” he adds.
Another capability that makes Gripen a true mission enabler is its hot refuelling capability. “Hot refuelling” basically means refuelling the aircraft while its engine is running. It is performed when a mission or an operation requires a rapid turn-around with an objective to save time when it matters the most. Through hot refuelling, an aircraft’s downtime can be kept to a minimum, allowing a quick re-launch for the next sortie.