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Preparing For Ground Test Of The First Gripen E Test Aircraft: Efficient Testing In Rigs And Simulators

Kristina Olausson, Saab, Sweden
Christopher Skogh, Saab, Sweden


Saab is currently developing Gripen E, a completely new multi-role fighter. The Next Generation aircraft is heavily modified in comparison to the previous C/D model even though exterior changes are hard to recognize. Some of the larger physical changes are: a new more powerful engine, increased internal fuel, increased payload, AESA radar and EO sensors. However, the key feature and most crucial change is the introduction of a distributed integrated modular avionic system.

With this new architecture, the flight critical functions are separated from the tactical features enabling decreased time and risk when introducing future customer upgrades. Giving the advantage and possibility of a system that easily can be adapted to the customer’s fast-paced technology driven operating environment.

It is the responsibility of the Department of Flight Test and Verification to ensure an efficient ground test phase of the first test aircraft, designated a/c 39-8, before its maiden flight. Time is a critical factor meanwhile safety always must be taken into account.

With a completely new aircraft with an avionic system with a high degree of complexity:

  • Is it possible to optimize and decrease the time of what has become the norm of a ground test phase before first flight within the company?
  • How can the methodology for testing in rigs and simulators help providing for an efficient testing in the aircraft?

This paper describes the test phase that preceded the 39-8 ground test activities. The focus is on the test strategy developed and the large quantity of testing performed in Gripen E rigs and simulators. Furthermore this paper will conclude how this affected the progress and results of the ground test phase prior to 39-8 first flight.

Wed, 2017-09-13