Saab Signs New Agreement with UK’s Test Pilots School

JAS-39 Gripen B #39802 of the Empire Test Pilot School is seen in flight.
Photo: Janne Gustafsson
Copyright © Gripen International

2/15/2008 - Test pilot students at the renowned Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS), MOD Boscombe Down in the United Kingdom, will continue to have access to fly Sweden´s new generation Gripen fighter under the recently signed agreement with Saab.

The agreement marks the 10th anniversary of collaboration between Saab and ETPS, which is an integral part of the UK Aircraft Test and Evaluation Centre (ATEC), and is operated by QinetiQ in partnership with the UK MOD.

This new agreement for 2008 will mirror the structured approach of the successful 2005-2007 campaigns, with two flying training campaigns in Sweden per year. The 2008 training campaigns will be for seven international students, each of whom will fly up to 11 hours on Gripen across seven sorties with their ETPS Instructor Pilots (IP’s).

"Saab is delighted that ETPS has chosen to further extend the training of its students on the Gripen. We have a high degree of interest in the art of flight test, so we are happy to co-operate with such a prestigious flight test school and expose our aircraft to such high-level personnel. We are also fully committed to supporting the future aspirations the ETPS may have for Gripen", says Lennart Sindahl, Executive Vice President of Saab.

Since 1999, ETPS has included Gripen in its test pilot training courses, working in conjunction with Saab. Groups of trainees and their instructor pilots (IP’s) have gone to Sweden to experience Gripen´s advanced cockpit technology and flight characteristics.

“Modern aircraft rely on both sophisticated flight control systems and advanced integrated mission systems for their effectiveness. It is important that future generations of test pilots and flight test engineers are exposed to these technologies and are able to test and evaluate them objectively. In recent years, ETPS has been using the Saab Gripen aircraft as an important component of this training with great success and is pleased to be continuing the programme”. Ian Burrett- Director Aerospace Training at QinetiQ.

Following the highly successful 2005-2007 ETPS Gripen training campaigns, for which all syllabus requirements were met, zero flights were lost due to un-serviceability and where all teaching goals in all areas were exceeded, the new 2008 deal will build on this success, further embedding Gripen as an integral part of the ETPS course.

In 2008, each ETPS course will contain two training campaigns (May and August/September) to be undertaken by seven (7) students with three (3) IP’s. The IP´s will undergo a three-week conversion exercise, ahead of the commencement of the training campaigns, to re-qualify them on Gripen. The test pilot students in 2008 will be drawn from the Royal Air Force, Switzerland, Singapore, the Netherlands and Pakistan. Each student will fly Gripen for eleven (11) hours with a complementary course of simulator flying. Flight operations will be undertaken at Saab’s facility in Linköping, while simulator training will be conducted at the Swedish Air Force F7 Wing, Såtenäs.

The ETPS programme is being carried out in close co-operation with Saab and the Swedish Air Force, and will further strengthen the excellent relations that already exist between these highly skilled operators.

Source: Gripen Press Release

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