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Axel

Assignment: To develop the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft

5 min read

It all began on a summer day in 2017. Axel had a summer job working with Flight Mechanics at Saab in Linköping. On his third day at work, Gripen E took its maiden flight. Standing alongside the runway with 3,000 jubilant colleagues made quite an impression – the following year, he was back at Saab.

While studying at KTH Royal Institute of Technology to become an engineer, Axel realised that he wanted to work with something that involved technical theory as a foundation, but which could be applied to something practical. Today, he is involved in developing the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft.

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Axel
"If you are clear about what you want, you’ll find that there is tremendous flexibility in terms of career paths.”

Gripen E goes under the epithet “The Game Changer”. Unique software architecture, AI functionality and Human Machine Collaboration (HMC) make it smarter and more adaptable than the competition. In the air, you don’t want to encounter an opponent that quickly sees through your tactics, and just as quickly outsmarts it.

Gripen is also more reliable, easier to maintain and more affordable than competing fighter aircraft. And it is people like Axel who make this possible.

Shhh...

Not everything is secret in Axel’s job – but a lot is. During some meetings, everyone is required to place their mobile phones in an acoustic isolation box, after which someone takes a computer out of a safe and logs in using an encryption device. According to Axel, this is when you know it’s going to be a good day at work.

"When we place our mobile phones in an acoustic isolation box and logs in using an encryption device - this is when you know it’s going to be a good day at work."

What he can disclose is that he currently serves as a Requirement Closure Lead for the Aeronautical Engineering Department. In addition, Axel assists in negotiations concerning collaborations on AI and autonomy. Other tasks include managing future plans and serving as an interface between various departments.

“The great thing about working with Gripen is that the sophisticated software we develop will function together with hardware and create something physical – an aircraft!”

Why Saab?

Axel believes that many people know that Saab is a high-tech company where technology is always at the forefront. At the same time, he believes that many people expect Saab, as a large company, to be sluggish in decision-making and that as a new employee, it may be difficult to see the big picture since you are only responsible for the design of some small part, such as a screw. This is something Axel wants to clarify is not the case.

“I enjoy working with the whole to understand how all parts are connected. At the same time, I have many colleagues who instead prefer to dive into some technical rabbit hole, and that’s fine too. There are endless possibilities to be both a specialist and a generalist at Saab. If you are clear about what you want, you’ll find that there is tremendous flexibility in terms of career paths.”

Axel works with the development of Gripen at Saab.
“If you really want to use all the engineering physics that you learned during five years at university, then there is no better place to work than Saab.”

There are also other softer values that Axel enjoys at Saab. As an employee, you are expected and encouraged to explore your full potential and to take great responsibility in your work, but this also contributes to great flexibility when it comes to working hours and holidays.

“Managers are very receptive if you want to leave work early to go exercise or take a week off to visit friends and family.”

Saab’s vision is that it is a human right to feel safe. For Axel, it feels important to work with a product that has the task of protecting society and millions of people around the world. A personal wake-up call was when he realised that Saab has more followers on social media in Brazil than in Sweden.

"Did you know, that the Brazilian Gripen deal is Sweden’s largest export deal EVER?"

In his daily work, Axel has access to a Gripen simulator where he can test his own software and outside his office window, he often hears Gripen taking off, but, according to him, the daily problem solving is even more exciting.

“If you really want to use all the engineering physics that you learned during five years at university, then there is no better place to work than Saab.”

In his work at Saab, Axel had access to a Gripen simulator where he can test his code.

4 questions

Finish this sentence: “Saab is...” Saab is not just Gripen! As a student ambassador, I have had the opportunity to meet people from across Saab, and I’m equally surprised every time about the breadth of our product portfolio. For example, did you know that Saab is a world leader in prison surveillance systems? Or did you know that Saab also makes a large number of devices and parts for civilian aircraft from Boeing and Airbus?

The best thing about Saab: The best thing about my job is that I am involved in something really significant and important. Did you know, for example, that the Brazilian Gripen deal is Sweden’s largest export deal EVER? Linked to this, it is also fantastic that there is a genuine curiosity and ambition in the organisation.

The most challenging: The most challenging thing about my job is that, as an aircraft manufacturer and supplier of a military product, we have a great responsibility in our dealings with authorities and armed forces. This means that there can sometimes be a fair share of bureaucracy and documentation. But when you see the importance of the product, you can understand that everything has to be done rigorously and properly.

Appreciates: Outside of work, Axel does triathlon training, has a real weakness for good food and nice restaurants, and loves travelling and experiencing new cultures.