Today two (2) dual seat (39 D) Gripen multi-role fighters arrived at the Cáslav Air Base in the Czech Republic. These aircraft, the latest variant of the Gripen, were flown by pilots from the FMV, Swedish Defense Material Administration. The flight, which departed from FMV´s facility outside Linköping, lasted for about one hour.
On 18 April 2005, the first six (6) Gripen aircraft were delivered followed by a further six (6) aircraft on the 17 and 18 August. Today’s delivery makes up the full quantity of Gripen – fourteen (14) in totals- that the Czech Air Force will lease until 2015. Since the signing of the lease agreement in Prague in June 2004 Sweden has produced, tested and delivered all the Gripen aircraft to the Czech Air Force. In this fourteen month period Czech Air Force pilots and technicians have also been trained on the Gripen system by the Swedish Armed Forces. - I think that is quite an achievement for all concerned and proof of the good cooperation between Sweden and the Czech Republic,- says FMV’s program director Per Nilsson. The Czech Air Force Gripen aircraft have taken over the task of patrolling the Czech Republic’s airspace and have entered service as part of the NATO system. To date the Czech Air Force have produced some 300 flight hours since the first Gripen aircraft arrived in April 2005. A second group of Czech Air Force pilots have arrived in Sweden for their conversion training to Gripen at the F 7 Såtenäs Wing. Following their training in Sweden they will return to the Czech Republic to complete the training with their own instructors. Gripen is the first of the new generation, multi-role combat aircraft to enter service. Using the latest available technology it is capable of performing an extensive range of air-to-air and air-to-surface operational missions and employing the latest weapons. Gripen is designed to meet the demands of current and future threats, while at the same time meeting strict requirements for flight safety, reliability, training efficiency and low operating costs. Gripen is in service with the Swedish and Czech Republic Air Forces and has also been ordered by the South African and Hungarian Air Forces. The UK Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS) is operating Gripen as its advanced fast jet training platform for test pilots worldwide.