Saab’s Gripen E has successfully completed initial tests to confirm its ability to release and launch external payloads. The trials took place in October at the Vidsel Test Range in northern Sweden. The tests, conducted by the first Gripen E test aircraft (39-8), comprised jettisoning one external fuel drop tank and the firing of an IRIS-T air-to-air missile.
Marcus Wandt, experimental Gripen test pilot at Saab, explained: “As a pilot, flying with external stores such as drop tank and missiles is important to allow for evaluation of how the aircraft behaves with the stores attached. This test was also used to evaluate the effect on the aircraft when releasing and launching the stores. The highlight was of course to pull the trigger and watch the missile fire away. It also brings us closer to making the aircraft ready for its operational use.”
Jonas Hjelm, senior vice president and head of Saab business area aeronautics added: “I am pleased to see the aircraft behaving and performing according to our expectations, which is proof of its smart design and world-class engineering by Saab. The programme is on track, and we are making good progress in the programme towards delivery to our Swedish and Brazilian customers.”
These tests are the latest steps in the Gripen E flight test programme preceded by the carriage trials in July and forms part of the weapon integration work. Presently, the aircraft has been ordered by Sweden and Brazil. Deliveries are likely to begin during 2019.