Gripen E aircraft

Saab has successfully carried out the first flight test of the new infrared search and track (IRST) sensor, which has been designed for integration into the Gripen E fighter aircraft, according to schedule.

Conducted at an undisclosed location, the flight test was aimed at verifying the sensor’s functions and the integration onto the aircraft.

Saab Wing Commander Flying Hans Einerth said the first flight in the Gripen E test aircraft with IRST has been performed with very good results.

Einerth said, "Multiple targets were detected, tracked and identified and the system works perfectly as expected.

"IRST is a new sensor on Gripen, which allows pilots to see great distances in several directions."

Manufactured by Selex, the IRST is an electro-optical system mounted in the nose of Gripen E, and is capable of silently detecting, tracking and identifying all types of targets, without emitting a signal and revealing the aircraft’s own position.

Also called Skyward G, the sensor is particularly useful against aerial targets with low radar cross section, such as stealth aircraft.

It can also register heat emissions from other aircraft, such as helicopters, and from other objects on the ground and sea surface.

"The sensor is particularly useful against aerial targets with low radar cross section, such as stealth aircraft."

The integration and development of the sensor is currently progressing according to schedule.

A next-generation variant of the JAS 39 Gripen, the Gripen E features more powerful engines, new electronic radar and upgraded presentation systems in the cockpit and modern avionics to successfully perform longer-duration missions.

Additional features include new communication links, increased flight time, more weapon stations and load capability, and a new electronic warfare system.

Gripen multi-role fighter currently serves as the backbone of five countries’ air defences, including Sweden, South Africa, Czech Republic, Hungary and Thailand.

Image: Gripen E is an upgraded version of JAS 39 Gripen aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Ernst Vikne.

Defence Technology