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Warwick G, 02-May-1987. Gripen Unveiled Despite Delays, Flight International

Warwick G, 02-May-1987. Gripen Unveiled Despite Delays, Flight International

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Published by: Foro Militar General on Aug 25, 2012
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05/19/2014

 
WORLD NEWS
Gripen unveiled despite delays
LINKOPING
Saab chose to unveil theJAS39 Gripen multirolefighter on the company's 50thanniversary, but admittedthat the first prototype wouldnot fly until late this year,reports
Graham Warwick.
"A great deal of detailedground testing remains to bedone before the aircraft flies,"said programme managerTommy Ivarsson. Verificationand validation of the digitalfly-by-wire flight controlsystem is taking longer thanplanned, he revealed."We are roughly six months
late,"
said Ivarsson, whiledeclining to give an exact datefor the first flight. Despitethe delay, the fighter/attack/reconnaissance aircraft is stillscheduled to enter SwedishAir Force service in 1992.The single-seat, single-engine JAS39 Gripen is beingdeveloped by the JAS Industry Group—Saab-Scania,Volvo Flygmotor, EricssonRadio Systems, and FFVAerotech—under a fixed-pricecontract from the SwedishDefence Materiel Administration (FMV).Five prototypes are beingbuilt. FMV officials said thatthey have demanded moreextensive trials and testingthan with any previousaircraft, particularly in theareas of new materials andflight controls.The majority of structuraltests required before firstflight have been completed,says Saab. Carbonfibreaccounts for about 30 per centof the Gripen's structureweight, including wing, fore-plane, fin, and undercarriage
doors.
British Aerospace hasdelivered three wing shipsetsfor the initial prototypes, andits role in wing design andmanufacture is now almostcompleted, says Saab, whichis now responsible for building all composite components.Intensive ground testingnow under way largelyconcerns the flight controlsystem. This is a triplex-redundant digital fly-by-wiresystem with analogue backupcontrol, developed by LearSiegler but with Saabresponsible for developing thecontrol laws.Tests are under way inSaab's hydraulic and flightcontrol system rig. The basicsystem is working well,Ivarsson said, describing thetests as exhaustive andtedious, but necessary toensure the system's safeoperation as there is nomechanical backup control.Tests have already coverednormal operational profiles.Volvo Flygmotor deliveredthe first flight-test RM12engine in March. The RM12is an uprated, 18,1001b-thrustversion of the General Electric F404. So far six ground-test engines have logged morethan 3,000hr, includingsuccessful flightworthinesstests and the critical
1 •
libbirdstrike test on the reinforced fan. Volvo expects theengine to be cleared for flightby May.Two prototypes of theGripen's multimode radarhave been built by Ericsson,and one is being installed in aViggen for flight tests to begin"very soon". Ground testing of
At its unveiling on April 26 restrictions on
photographing
the JAS39
Gripen
from one side only
were
strictly
enforced
by Saab, on
whose
50thanniversary the unveiling took place.
(Flight
photographs by
JaniceLowe)
•,'.,,&-.S«
i
".
FLIGHT INTERNATIONAL, 2 May 1987

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