The Royal Thai Air Force’s first Gripen fighter aircraft has completed its maiden flight in Sweden.

Gripen is a new-generation, multirole combat aircraft built by SAAB that is capable of performing an extensive range of air-to-air and air-to-surface operational missions.

Thailand placed an order for the complete aircraft and associated command and control system from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration in 2008.

The order includes the first batch of six Gripen C/D with associated equipment and service, one Saab 340 aircraft equipped with Erieye radar, a Saab 340 for transport and training and an integrated command and control system with data links.

The first Gripen will be ready to train Royal Thai Air Force personnel in Sweden by 2010, while the remaining air craft will be delivered to the nation in 2011.