Brazil F-X2: Gripen Supercruises
The Gripen NG, a strong contender in Brazilian F-X2 program, reached an important milestone while supercruising over the Baltic Sea.
The Gripen demo aircraft proved its ability to “supercruise”, the ability to fly supersonic without the use of afterburner which results in fuel savings and an increase in range.
During last Autumn, the Gripen Demo performed 40 sorties as part of the development programme that focuses on opening up the flight envelope regarding speed, altitude, angle-of-attack and loads. This year, the testing has continued at the same high tempo. Today’s supercruise flight is part of the ongoing high speed supersonic testing that will include supersonic flights, with different load alternatives.
Saab test pilot Magnus Ljungdahl flew the Gripen Demonstrator aircraft in supercruise. “The flight was conducted over the Baltic Sea, my altitude was 28, 000 feet and the speed achieved was above Mach 1.2. Without using afterburner I maintained the same speed until I ran out of test area and had to head back to the Saab Test Flight Centre in Linköping.”
“To show potential customers that Gripen can supercruise is an important milestone”, said Gripen International Marketing Director Bob Kemp, “and to perform this activity only nine months after the Gripen Demonstrator was shown in public for the first time, is something that few, if any aircraft can beat.”
The Gripen Demo aircraft is a flying test platform for the next generation of Gripen and for the further development of the present Gripen C/D aircraft. Together with a ground-based test rig, the Gripen Demonstrator will develop and prove the essential systems and capabilities for the future, including its more powerful General Electric F414G engine, an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, advanced communications and electronic warfare systems.