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“As close to top gun as I could possible get”

21 January 2011

The Indian journalist Vishnu is the first, and so far the only civilian in the world who has flewn the Gripen NG (Next Generation). In Indian television he recently let the viewers take part of his unique flight over the Swedish archipelago.

The Indian journalist Vishnu Som, Associate Editor and Senior Anchor, New Delhi Television (NDTV) was the first civilian to fly the Gripen NG. His story of flying in the Gripen NG was telecasted on NDTV in India, covering the 45 minute sortie which included a supercruise and a spectacular flight just 50 feet over the Baltic Sea. The Gripen fighter flew in formation with a Gripen D-version and was filmed from a SK 60 jet trainer aircraft.

Vishnu Som has earlier written about his flight in the Indain defence magazine Vayu.

“With its new GE414G engine, the Gripen NG strains at the leashes on the runway, edging forward despite the brakes and blasts off more than takes off once the brakes are released. In handling too, the jet is care-free pushing the 9G threshold quite easily. The Gripen test pilot Fredrik Müchler tells me that the Gripen NG can easily be touted a 10G fighter, since it can pull those loads without any real difficulty. Supercruise on this flight took place at about 23,000 feet. Our jet, carrying 2 IRIS-T wingtip mounted air to air missiles accelerated through the sonic barrier. Fredrik quickly came off the heater and air speed stabilised well above Mach 1. Fredrik tells me that he at this altitude can sustain this till fuel runs out and can travel faster without burner if we are at a higher altitude.”

Vishnu Som’s flight including great air-air shoots of the Gripen NG


 The video can be also be viewed here


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