Saab has concluded the maiden flight of the second Gripen E multirole fighter test aircraft, designated 39-9.

The 33-minute test flight was carried out by Saab experimental test pilot Robin Nordlander from the company’s airfield at Linköping in Sweden.

Nordlander said: “Flying Gripen E means breaking no sweat though, even on a maiden flight such as this. The flight was so smooth and 39-9 a real pleasure to pilot. I am looking forward to getting it back in the air again and soon putting the new systems to the test.”

During the trial, the test pilot carried out a number of operations in order to prove and demonstrate flight characteristics and various test criteria such as the software, life support system and radio system.

Saab Aeronautics Business Area Jonas Hjelm said: “It is very satisfying to see the second Gripen E aircraft join the flight test programme as planned.

“In the next phase of the 39-9 Gripen E test programme, the company will test and validate the tactical systems and sensors integrated on to the fighter aircraft.”

“This new aircraft allows us to expand the trial activities as we test more functionality with on-board systems whilst, with two aircraft now flying, we are increasing the overall pace of testing.

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“The programme continues to deliver good progress and to generate interest as our customers and others are keen to see and learn more about the capabilities Gripen E is going to give their pilots.”

In the next phase of the 39-9 Gripen E test programme, the company will test and validate the tactical systems and sensors integrated on to the fighter aircraft.

As an upgraded variant of Saab’s Gripen C/D multirole combat aircraft, Gripen E has been designed to replace the Swiss Air Force’s existing fleet of Northrop-built F-5E/F Tiger jets.

The aircraft has an overall length of 15.2m, wingspan of 8.6m, and maximum take-off weight of 16,500kg.

Earlier this month, Saab’s first Gripen E test aircraft, designated 39-8, completed a test flight with two MBDA-built Meteor active radar-guided beyond visual range air-to-air missiles.