Users of Gripen aircraft enjoy tight contacts

Autor: Oldrich Holecek

A Conference of Gripen User’s Group, held 22 - 26 October at Olomouc, Czech Republic, provided a new impetus to closer exchange of operational information in use of SAAB 39 Gripen (JAS-39) aircraft in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Sweden, South Africa and Thailand.

Representatives of all these five users met at the Joint Forces Command of the Czech military at Olomouc to discuss operational, maintenance, logistic and security issues related to use of the SAAB 39 Gripen supersonic aircraft.

The final document of the Conference called "Action List" represents a set of shared knowledge, information and the "know-how" for effective operational use of the aircraft.

“Individual users contain different experience with operation of these aircraft, for example, due to different climate conditions. We share the different experience and information during the conference and we find some of them to be quite similar. After evaluation we can therefore be better prepared for challenges which could come,“ Major Petr Michenka, Czech pilot of SAAB 39 Gripen aircraft, says.

One of the most discussed issues was the so called “Aircraft Cross Servicing“ which means that a “pilot would be able to prepare and leave an airport which will not have appropriate technical support for gripens,“ Major Michenka says. In other cases, for example, Czech ground personnel will be able to prepare Hungarian aircraft for the take off. “The cooperation could also result in service of joint crews which will enable to deploy lower size of contingents for foreign operations,“ Major Michenka claims.

“The Czech Republic joined the Gripen User’s Group in 2007. Conferences are held twice a year, the first at a level of Air Force commanders and the second, as in this case, at a level of the working group where specific and technical issues are being solved and shared,“ Colonel Petr Hromek, Chief of the Czech Air Force Combat Training Department at the Joint Forces, says.

As far as the use of Gripen aircraft by the Czech Air Force, talks go on with the Swedish party over conditions for prolonging current lease agreement for the aircraft after 2014.

Posted: October 29, 2012