First Gripen flight with helmet mounted display


The integration of a helmet mounted display, to further enhance the combat
capability of the SAAB-BAE SYSTEMS Gripen fourth-generation swing-role
fighter has passed a significant milestone, with a successful series of
test flights in Linkoping, Sweden, using a 'Guardian' helmet-mounted
display system (HMD).

Flown by test pilot Magnus Olsson, the compatibility of the 'Guardian'
display with Gripen's advanced avionics and cockpit was verified, ahead of
a programme to fully integrate the system for export launch customer South
Africa, which has a requirement for 28 aircraft.

The system is also being optimised for use with the IRIS-T advanced short
range air-to-air missile which is being adopted as the standard air-to-air
combat weapon for Swedish Air Force Gripen fighters.

'Guardian' is produced by Pilkington Optronics, in partnership with
Cumulus (a division of Denel) and Kentron of South Africa. It provides
Gripen aircrew with flight reference data, weapons information and a
weapons aiming capability through the pilot's visor, without the need to
look down at cockpit instrumentation or forward through the head-up
display. Weapons aiming, using this system whatever the pilot's viewing
angle of the target.

This benefit is retained no matter where the pilot is looking and provides
a 'look and shoot' capability. It allows optimum use of Gripen's fully
integrated digital information system and precision engagement weapons,
including advanced short-range air-to-air missiles, during combat

Close range combat performance is further enhanced by Gripen's advanced
aerodynamic configuration, employing delta wing and canard foreplanes.
This gives excellent performance in close combat situations and ensures
optimum agility and high turn-rates at all speeds and altitudes, even when
heavily armed.

Integration of the 'Guardian' HMD forms part of a fully-funded ongoing
technology insertion programme that will ensure Gripen continues to be at
the forefront of combat aircraft technology for decades to come.



Each Gripen fighter has the built-in ability to absorb future developments
with ease. The aircraft's five MIL-STD 1553 databuses are currently used
to just 50 per cent of capacity, offering unrivalled growth potential for

Unlike integration programs for older in-service competitors, future
systems upgrades for Gripen will be software-based, cost effective and
relatively straightforward as they do not require the fleet to be grounded
for lengthy periods of time while work is carried out.

SAAB-BAE SYSTEMS and their partners continue to study further technology
growth for Gripen. This includes the introduction of multi-mode active
electronically scanned array radar, cockpit adaptation for use with night
vision goggles, infra-red search and track and the TARAS next-generation
communication system among others.

Notes to editors:
Gripen, the world's first in-service fourth-generation swing-role fighter,
is manufactured, marketed and supported internationally by a joint venture
company in which Saab of Sweden and the United Kingdom's BAE SYSTEMS have
equal shares.

Designed to meet all known and perceived 21st century defense threats
Gripen is the only fighter in service today with ease of maintenance and
low operational costs designed-in. It is no ordinary fighter, combining
high performance and outstanding manoeuvrability with a fully integrated
digital information system, precision engagement weapons and
reconnaissance capabilities for the future air war.

For further information contact:
John Neilson, vice president communications, SAAB-BAE SYSTEMS Gripen
Tel: +44 1252 384795, mobile: +44 802 337704

Marie Akto, communications manager, SAAB-BAE SYSTEMS Gripen
Tel: +46 13 18 4216, mobile: +46 70 989 7110

Photographs of the Gripen helmet mounted
display are available from

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