FAB Gripens Now at Supersonic Flight-Testing Stage
The Brazilian Air Force (FAB)'s Gripen E has now entered the supersonic flight test stage. The tests are being conducted at the designated test areas in Brazil while adhering to all the protocols.
“Gripen will be performing supersonic flights during the next couple of months. Flying faster than the speed of sound creates a sound wave, a sonic boom, that may sound more like a thunderclap than the sound of a passing aircraft. It is possible that residents of the region will hear this sound while this important testing of Brazil´s new fighter is being done. We take care to ensure that these supersonic flights are taking place in designated test areas, in coordination with the aeronautical authorities and following the procedures of the Brazilian Air Force”, says Sven Larsson, head of Gripen Test Flight Centre (GFTC) at Saab.
Gripen E's (test aircraft) first supersonic flight happened in October 2017 over the Baltic Sea. The purpose of a supersonic test includes collecting data from the aircraft when it flies at over Mach 1. It is important to check if the aircraft performs as per expectations while breaking the sound barrier.
Brazilian Gripen E’s supersonic flight tests took place at high altitude, above 5.000 meters. For a fighter aircraft, the transition from subsonic to transonic to supersonic should be smooth. The design of the airframe and flight control system of Gripen is as such that the pilot would not even notice the supersonic speed unless they see it on the machmeter.
The ongoing flight activities in Brazil include testing the Gripen fighter for flight control, and its performance in tropical climate. Features customised for Brazil i.e., weapons integration and the Link BR2 communication system (used for data sharing between aircraft and ground stations) will also be tested.
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