April 16, 2009, Limpopo, South Africa -- Two Gripen D aircraft participated in the SA Air Force’s recent Airpower Demonstration in Limpopo Province, South Africa.
The dual-seat state-of-the-art fighters were deployed in a typical peace enforcement scenario to provide a Combat Air Patrol over a ground-to-air reconnaissance mission and over a subsequent strike against insurgent forces.
In a real mission, they would also provide a vital communications and mission control link to the reconnaissance aircraft and ground attack fighters.
According to Lt-Gen Carlo Gagiano, Chief of the SAAF, significant progress had been made with the integration of Gripen alongside other new aircraft including the Hawk lead-in fighter trainer, Agusta A109 and Agusta-Westland SuperLynx helicopters.
“We hope to have air to ground weapons integrated on Gripen in time to demonstrate them at our next Airpower demonstration later this year,” Lt-Gen Gagiano told observers.
Gripen pilot instructor and technical training on-going
The SAAF’s 2 Squadron at AFB Makhado in Limpopo, received its first five Gripens in 2008, while two more aircraft joined the unit at the beginning of April 2009. Gripen Pilot Instructor and Technical training began on the type during the second half of 2008 with support from Saab.
Every year the SAAF stages two Airpower demonstrations at its Roodewal bombing range which is located just north of Polokwane, the country’s northern-most city and capital of Limpopo.
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