Sweden plans to introduce Gripen C/D and propeller aircraft for pilot training

Sweden Gripen pilot training
Swedish Air Force Gripen D. Sweden plans to introduce Gripen C/D aircraft for pilot training

The Swedish Air Force is looking to modernize its combat pilot training system and the plan is to introduce a propeller aircraft for the basic phases and the Gripen C/D fighters for the advanced phase.

During the annual Gripen seminar that took place on March 26, Colonel Torgny Fälthammar, head of the Gripen program, Air Staff, Swedish Air Force, said that the replacement of the Saab SK-60 trainer jet will start soon.

He said they will continue to use the SK-60 for another five years or so and then it will be replaced with forthcoming propeller aircraft and Gripen C/D from fighter squadrons. Currently the old Saab jet covers all the training phases.

The introduction of the Gripen C/D in the flight school will take place in conjunction with the entry into service of the advanced Gripen E which will be delivered starting from 2023.

According to Fälthammar, the nation will subsequently introduce an advanced jet trainer such as the new Boeing/Saab T-7. Currently, however, they are focusing on the choice of the propeller aircraft as it is a priority. He did not mention a candidates list, but it is known that Sweden has long been looking at the Pilatus PC-21.

Sweden has recently launched a new Gripen training academy at Satenas air base, as part of a joint initiative involving Swedish AF, Saab and Swedish Defence Materiel Administration, FMV. It will provide training to Swedish pilots, together with other international operators from Brazil, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

Written by Matteo Sanzani

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