'Gripen thunders in Alaska' (performance at CT/Red Flag)

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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Unread post01 Nov 2006, 23:26

Sounds like new generation vs. old generation so perhaps no surprises on operative effect but still a good read.


“Alaska was a success from beginning to end. We took seven Gripens to the other side of the world, flew in expeditionary operations for a couple of weeks, andnever missed a single scheduled mission through an aircraft

We did all that with just 90 people – including 12 pilots, 35 maintenance technicians, the Army TACPs [Tactical Air Control Party, better known as forward air controllers], our own security detail and others.”

“For the whole deployment we flew 340 hours, with 150 hours ‘on mission’ in the exercise. There were 10 days of ‘real’ exercise flying and, of our planned total of 225 sorties for the whole event we flew 220. Four were cancelled
because of weather and one because of an equipment problem with a laser designation pod.”

“Every day we flew two missions, each with four aircraft. We did offensive counter air (OCA) missions as strike package escorts, ‘swing role’ interdiction missions with a secondary OCA tasking and close air support (CAS)/OCA
missions – another swing role.”

“We dropped 16 Inert GBU–12 500-lb laser-guided bombs which were either self-designated by the launch aircraft, ‘buddy-lased’ by a second aircraft or targeted by the TACP teams on the ground. We also did strafing runs
with our 27-mm cannon on CAS missions.”

“We were flying with big packages of up to 50 aircraft. That included Canadian CF–18s, Japanese F–15Js, USAF F–16Cs, US Navy EA–6Bs, plus tankers, transports and always an E–3 AWACS.”

“During OCA missions we used our datalink between four-ships which gave us fantastic situational awareness – better than we were getting from the E–3. We were always on top of the air battle. We also found that our warning and electronic warfare (EW) systems are really, really good. It was almost impossible for the Red air forces to get through our EW systems. And we always had a good picture of where the air defences were, could avoid them and still do our work – even in very dynamic situations, with the threat getting more complex each day.”

“After the exercise the US side told us that they would have to reassess the Swedish Air Force and its capabilities – they ended up with a lot of respect for us.”

Lieutenant Colonel Ken Lindberg
was the Detachment Commander
for the Swedish Air Force deployment
to Cope Thunder/Red Flag


In July and August seven Swedish Air Force Gripens (five JAS 39Cs and two JAS 39Ds) made an unprecedented deployment to Alaska, to participate in a major US Air Force-led exercise. Supported by two C-130 Hercules
and a team of about 90 personnel, the Swedish jets flew 5,495 nautical miles (10,176 km) from SwAF Ronneby to Eilson AFB for Exercise Cope Thunder 2006.

The Swedish team was known by the nickname ‘Tango Red.’ Cope Thunder (now renamed Red Flag Alaska) is a major multinational air power exercise that tests ground and airborne forces in complex real-world scenarios, over a large area of northern Alaska. Taking part were aircraft from Sweden, the United States, Canada and Japan – plus air defence assets from the US, Slovakia, Japan and even Mongolia. Seven other nations sent working level observers.

The exercise scenario was based around a national UN peace enforcement operation between warring neighbours embroiled in ethnic strife. Air assets were deployed to support UN forces on the ground and to strike at the aggressor’s military and infrastructure targets. The friendly ‘Blue’ forces faced a sophisticated ‘Red’ air defence network of radars, guns and missile systems. Some of the most lethal air defence weapons in the world were deployed against the Gripens in the shape of Slovak S-300 (SA-10) surface-to-air missile systems.

Operating with the Blue air forces, the job of the Gripens was to provide air interdiction and close air support using precision guided munitions, plus an
offensive and defensive counter air capability. The Swedish Army deployed its own forward air controllers, who worked with the Gripens (and all Blue forces) marking targets on the ground for laser-guided bombs (LGBs). Throughout the exercise the Gripens were armed with GBU-12 Paveway II LGBs and Litening III laser-designation pods for attack missions. In the air-toair role the Gripens employed AIM–120 AMRAAM and AIM–9 Sidewinder missiles.

For Gripen, Cope Thunder/Red Flag Alaska was yet another demonstration of the aircraft’s ‘expeditionary’ capability. It showed that Gripen, and the Swedish Air Force, is deployable and interoperable with NATO and non-
NATO forces alike. The exercise also provided valuable experience for planning, maintenance and logistics – all of which will flow back to the Gripen community.

From Gripen News http://www.gripen.com/NR/rdonlyres/247C ... 2006_3.pdf


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Unread post02 Nov 2006, 04:04

Thanks for the post, I dont know a lot about the Gripen but love how they look.



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Unread post02 Nov 2006, 22:30

From what I know of it, the Gripen is one fine little overachiever--a most impressive effort from the Swedish defense industry and their air force. :thumb:

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