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Brazilian Gripen E

Major Aviator Ramon Fórneas Explains Why Gripen is a Unique Fighter

In an interview with the Aeromagazine, Major Aviator Ramon Lincoln Santos Fórneas enumerates five key aspects of Gripen that makes it a truly special fighter.

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Major Ramon Fórneas has many responsibilities under his belt. As the head of the operational section of the Monitoring and Control Group (GAC-Saab) under Ministry of Defense through the Aeronautics Command (COMAER), he is currently monitoring the development of the new FAB Gripen fighters on site at Saab, Sweden. He was also the operational coordinator of the Fox Group - the team of six fighter pilots dedicated to oversee the operational deployment of the new FAB Gripen fighters.

"My work has been very interesting, since I work directly with the team that develops the entire human-machine interface of the plane. Having the opportunity to influence the design of a fighter of this magnitude is a unique experience and a great responsibility," Major Aviator says. He then goes on to talk about the factors that make Gripen a unique fighter.

• The human-machine interface has always been one of the key features of Gripen. It connects the pilot to the fighter like never before through a state-of-the-art display system called WAD (Wide Area Display). Major Ramon Fórneas says that it was Gripen's HMI which made him believe that it was truly a smart fighter in every sense of the word. "The way the pilot interacts with the plane and the way the machine presents the data to the pilot are extremely efficient, facilitating decision making even when flying in today's complex combat scenarios," he says.

• Gripen's upgradeability completely eliminates mid-life modernization which can be costly and time-consuming. "Unlike many fighter jets, it does not need a huge upgrade after a few years of operation. Instead, like computers and cell phone systems and applications, Gripen can receive software updates without the need to structurally modify the cell itself," adds Major Ramon Fórneas.

• Gripen was also designed to be a relatively low-cost fighter as compared to its competitors. According to Major Ramon Fórneas, the reason for this low cost is the performance-based integrated maintenance solution. "Gripen's diverse systems are simple and efficient with a high degree of both reliability and availability. In addition, the aircraft requires few maintenance professionals for routine activities. All this minimizes the overall operating costs," he adds.

• Gripen's state-of-the-art Electronic Warfare (EW) system was designed to enhance the pilot's situational awareness and survivability by making the best use of the integrated sensor systems, radars, data-link, interference pods, and more. According to Major Ramon Fórneas, network-centric warfare is nothing more than the internet applied to a fighter. With the help of its EW system, Gripen will be able to see what others can see and vice versa, in a network centric environment.

• Part of what makes Gripen special is the unmatched offset program that Saab offers along with it. The technology transfer program in Brazil is an evidence of Saab's customer involvement in several areas and aspects of the fighter manufacturing and development program. The Brazilian Gripen program has been instrumental in creating skilled jobs in addition to the development of the country’s aerospace industry.

"In the long term, the arrival of Gripen will present a new chapter in the history of the Brazilian fighter aviation that has already undergone several processes of transformation, adaptation and changes. The aircraft will be used in the full range of missions performed today by FAB," Major Roman Fórneas says.

Read the full story here.