Saab's Gripen Demo makes first flight with AESA radar
PICTURE: Saab's Gripen Demo makes first flight with AESA radar
Saab's Gripen Demo aircraft has made its first test flight since receiving a key technology on offer to potential export customers including Brazil, India and Switzerland.
Now equipped with the antenna and other elements of Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems' Vixen 1000E/ES05 Raven active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, the two-seat demonstrator resumed its flight activities on 27 October, when it performed a sortie from Saab's Linköping site in Sweden.
The heavily modified B-model aircraft had been on the ground in refit for the last several months, during which time Saab integrated its AESA array, new satellite communications equipment and additional internal fuel capacity. It has also gained new electro-optical radar warning receivers and missile approach warning sensors developed by Saab Avitronics.
The Demo airframe has now completed more than 80 flights since May 2008, and is being used to de-risk technologies intended for use with Saab's future NG (new generation) production standard of the Gripen.
The type has already been shortlisted in competitions in Brazil, India and Switzerland, and will equip the Swedish air force from 2014.
Selex says flight tests of its new AESA design, which uses a unique "swashplate" mounting to significantly boost the sensor's area of coverage, will also support the technology's possible future integration with the Eurofighter Typhoon.
The UK Ministry of Defence earlier this year confirmed a desire to equip its Tranche 3 Typhoons with AESA radars, and industry sources say a flight-test programme with the Selex design is expected to take place from 2012. EADS has previously flown an AESA array on a Eurofighter development aircraft in Germany.
unother link :-
Gripen NG Demonstrator started flight testing again on October 27 following a modification which includes the installation of an AESA radar
The Gripen NG Demonstrator has been modified with a number of tactical systems: AESA radar, a new satellite communication system, an electro-optical missile warning system as well as activation of the increased internal fuel.
"A lot of new features have been implemented since we flew for the first time last year, but it takes an expert to see any external changes to the aircraft. Most clearly visible are the sensors for the missile warning system and antenna for the satellite communication system," says Mattias Bergström, project manager for the Gripen NG Demonstrator.
New tactical system
AESA radar, Active Electronically Scanned Array, is among the enhanced Gripen's capabilities. In simple terms, it refers to a radar that is built up of many small antenna elements into a large antenna. Each individual element can be controlled, facilitating many functions. Previously, the Gripen radar was a mechanically controlled antenna that illuminates one area at a time. An AESA radar can quickly scan larger areas, monitor more targets simultaneously and allow the pilot to operate with more flexibility.
"The new satellite communication system that we have introduced means you can communicate voice and text via satellite technology," explains Mattias Bergström.
Electro-optical Missile Approach Warning System
The sensors of the electro-optical Missile Approach Warning System (MAW) can be seen on the aircraft at the wing root and by the air brake. The system will protect among other things against Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS).
The flights will now continue and the flight envelope will be opened once again, while all the new tactical systems will be tested.