Red Flag role highlights Gripen’s evolution

Big thanks to writer and photographer Gunnar Åkerberg for filing and illustrating an ace feature in the new issue of Flight International about the Swedish air force’s involvement in exercise Red Flag 13-2 earlier this year.

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Eight Gripen Cs from the 172nd Fighter Squadron made the long trek from Ronneby air base to Nellis AFB, Nevada, in what was the type’s third appearance in a Flag event. But unlike before, this year’s participation included air-to-air refuelling, night vision goggle and Link 16 use and live weapons drops.

As seen through the Swedish air force’s provision of tactical reconnaissance services using the Gripen during NATO’s 2011 Libya campaign, the only thing that’s holding the service back from combat participation in coalition operations now is domestic politics. That remains quite a big hurdle, mind you.

To read our full report you’ll need to get your hands on a copy of the magazine (or our iPad edition), or else log in or sign up for free access via our FG Club. Follow the link here if you’re not already a member.


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