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3rd Gripen Wing inaugurated

3rd Gripen Wing inaugurated Today, Gripen operations started at the third wing to receive Gripen aircraft, F21 at Luleå in the north of Sweden. Two Gripen aircraft with F21 pilots landed at their new home and were welcomed by some 600 guests. It is time to welcome Sweden's third Gripen Wing, F21 Luleå. F21 will be operating two Gripen squadrons, the first including 20 aircraft ready to operate from 2002 and a second squadron with another 20 aircraft from 2005. Already, F21 has five Gripen-aircraft at Kallax airbase and will during this week complete its first missions. "I am very glad that we can start to operate Gripen at Kallax Air base after more then a year of preparations, including education of technical support, pilot training and infrastructure", says Frank Fredriksson, Wing Commander at F21. Gripen is the first fourth generation fighter aircraft operational in service today. Gripen was officially introduced into Swedish Air Force service on 9 June 1996, where F7 Såtenäs was the first Wing to operate Gripen with two squadrons. On 30 September 1999 the second Gripen Wing was introduced at F10 Ängelholm with further two squadrons. And now, the third Gripen Wing will be declared operational at F21 Luleå. The first Gripen division at F21 will replace the AJSH 37 Viggen (reconnaissance) division and take part in peace support operations from 2004. 204 Gripen aircraft has been ordered for the Swedish Air Force, with deliveries due for completion in 2007. Of these, 28 will be the fully operational and combat-capable two-seat version. By the end of 2001 Saab had delivered 113 Gripen aircraft to the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) - the government agency responsible for the procurement of the Swedish Gripen. The Swedish Air Force has flown over 25 000 missions which equals over 20 000 flying hours with Gripen. Gripen has already been proven in international military exercises, such as Baltic Link Partnership For Peace Exercise (PfP), and will from year 2004 take part in the Swedish Air Force rapid reaction forces for international operations. The first countries to order Gripen, after Sweden, is the South African Air Force which has a requirement for 28 aircraft and the Hungarian Air Force which has signed a lease contract with the Swedish Government for leasing of 14 Gripen fighters. Gripen International, which is owned by Saab AB of Sweden and the United Kingdom's BAE SYSTEMS have equal shares, has also started negotiations with Czech Republic concerning 24 new aircraft. Other countries that are interested in Gripen are Austria, Brazil and Poland. Saab is one of the world's leading high-technology companies, with its main operations focusing on defence, aviation and space. The group covers a broad spectrum of competence and capability in systems integration. For further information, please contact: Peter Larsson, Vice President Communications and Phone: +46 13 46 53 109 Public Affairs, Saab Aerospace Mobile: +46 709 89 7109 For pictures, please contact Heidi Wendt Phone: +46 13 46 53 393 ------------------------------------------------------------ This information was brought to you by Waymaker http://www.waymaker.net The following files are available for download: http://www.waymaker.net/bitonline/2002/01/17/20020117BIT00130/bit0002.doc http://www.waymaker.net/bitonline/2002/01/17/20020117BIT00130/bit0002.pdf