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Milestone for modern fighters: First flight with Saab’s Recce Pod System on Gripen

The Reconnaissance Pod System from SaabTech for the Swedish Gripen fighter made its first flight March 24 at Saab in Linköping, Sweden.

“Excellent handling qualities, the digital flight control system took care of everything it just feels like flying a clean aircraft, says Richard Ljungberg, Saab test pilot and former Swedish Air Force recce pilot. “We even tested camera functions in the pod together with maneuverability of the aircraft during the first flight.” The maiden flight was carried out a couple of months after the first delivery to FMV, the Swedish Defence Material Administration. FMV has designed the reconnaissance system for the Gripen system out of the demands from the Swedish Armed Forces. Flight tests and evaluation will be ongoing at Saab in Linköping for approximately a year and introduction into Swedish service will be in 2006. The Swedish Air Force JAS 39 Gripen fighters will by then be fitted with a modern reconnaissance pod system enabling them to replace AJSF 37 Viggen reconnaissance aircraft assigned to the service's rapid reaction (SWAFRAP) force. The system gives the JAS 39C/D an entirely new sensor surveillance capability, which will add to the visual, radar and ESM reconnaissance. Prime contractor for this program – started in December 2001 – is SaabTech, with Terma A/S and AerotechTelub as partners for the Pod System and Integrated Logistic Support respectively. Major subcontractors are Recon Optical and L3 Communication for the CA270 sensor and digital mass memory respectively. Reconnaissance systems are important for international operations, interoperability and continuous growth into the net centric warfare environment. Recent combat experience has illustrated the value of using reconnaissance data in network centric environments. Facts about the Modular Reconnaissance Pod System from SaabTech: The Modular Reconnaissance Pod System (MRPS) from SaabTech can be carried on various aircraft platforms and provides customers with a maximum of flexibility in tailoring the sensor suite to operational requirements for airborne tactical reconnaissance. It is easily integrated into the aircraft avionics by a MIL-STD-1553B data bus and a video interface to the displays in the cockpit. The Pod is designed for autonomous operation with an internally integrated Environmental Control System. A Reconnaissance Management System (RMS), CA270 medium altitude sensor, a digital mass memory and a Control Display Unit (CDU) are included in the basic pod configuration. The reconnaissance payload can include different types of sensors and is housed in three main compartments. The rotating window mid-section can accommodate advanced sensors suitable for missions at any altitude. The forward and aft compartments can house a Common Data Link (CDL) and additional sensors as applicable. The MRPS is interoperable with NATO STANAG requirements for timely distribution of intelligence for the reconnaissance loop. Read more about the Modular Reconnaissance Pod System from SaabTech and download pictures at Gripen is the most cost-effective and capable supersonic, multi-role/swing-role fighter aircraft in operational service today. In service with the Swedish Air Force since 1997, it will also equip the South African, Hungarian and Czech Air Forces. Read more about Gripen and download pictures at Saab is one of the world’s leading high-technology companies, with its main operations focusing on defense, aviation and space. The group covers a broad spectrum of competence and capabilities in systems integration. For further information please contact: Micael Johansson, Vice President, SaabTech, phone +46 73 437 37 11. Anna Bergenlid, Communications Director, SaabTech, phone +46 73 437 53 06.