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Switzerland Puts Gripen To The Test

While one of the Gripens is in the air, the second aircraft is used for evaluating the handling of the aircraft on the ground.
by Staff Writers
Lucerne, Switzerland (SPX) Aug 14, 2008
This evaluation process is an integral part of the Swiss Request for Proposal, issued in January 2008, for which Saab submitted its formal response earlier this Summer.

The evaluation of Gripen in Switzerland is being organized and led by armasuisse, the Swiss procurement agency responsible for managing the new fighter aircraft acquisition process.

The tests, which are being carried out by armasuisse in cooperation with Saab, the Swiss and Swedish Air Forces, began in late July and will continue until mid-August.

Two Gripen D (two seat) aircraft, together with air and ground crews, are based at the Emmen air base, situated close to the city of Lucerne, where the evaluation process is taking place. The Gripens are being flown daily by test pilots from armasuisse and Saab as well as pilots from the Swiss and Swedish Air Forces.

The majority of these flights are flown with a Swiss pilot in the front seat, supported by a Swede in the back seat.

All flights undertaken during the test and evaluation phase are flown according to a plan specified by armasuisse, with specific tasks for every flight, in order to give the Swiss evaluation team all the necessary information about the extensive operational multi-role capabilities of Gripen, including air defence, air policing and reconnaissance.

In parallel with the flight evaluations, there are also very intense ground evaluation activities being undertaken.

While one of the Gripens is in the air, the second aircraft is used for evaluating the handling of the aircraft on the ground, including preparation for flight, re-armament, maintenance and logistics routines.

Manne K A Koerfer, Campaign Director Switzerland at Gripen International, says that this evaluation is one of the most comprehensive examinations ever conducted by a potential Gripen customer.

"The Swiss are a very knowledgable and demanding customer and this very extensive flight and ground evaluation will really put us to the test. Consequently, I am convinced that this is an excellent opportunity for us to demonstrate to the Swiss authorities the real and proven qualities of the Gripen fighter" says Manne K A Koerfer.

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