Saab's Gripen NG demonstrator will touch down at Farnborough today for the first time, after making its debut air show appearance at last weekend's Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

On offer to nations including Brazil and India, the NG is an evolution of the Gripen fighter already acquired by Sweden and also supplied to export customers the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa and Thailand.

To be on view in the static display at the show through Friday, the demonstrator in May returned to Saab's Linkoping site in Sweden after completing a successful evaluation in India, in what was the type's first overseas trip.

Gripen NG RIAT - Craig Hoyle
 © Craig Hoyle/Flightglobal
The Saab Gripen NG demonstrator made its international show debut at RIAT last week

The campaign included operating the Gripen NG from Leh air base, requiring aircraft start-up some 10,800ft (3,300m) above sea level.

Saab secured a last-minute approval from the Swedish government to deploy the demonstrator for RIAT and Farnborough. "This gives us the unique opportunity to bring the aircraft to the UK during the Swedish summer holiday break," says Lennart Sindahl, head of the company's Aeronautics business unit.

With the current gap in flight testing, the NG's prototype Raven 1000P active electronically scanned array radar has been removed following the aircraft's return from India, and is now with Selex Galileo in Edinburgh, Scotland. The company will deliver its first pre-production radar to Saab in the third quarter of 2011.

Selex vice-president marketing and sales Bob Mason says the Raven's high-resolution synthetic aperture radar was assessed during the test campaign, along with its air-to-air search capabilities. The Gripen NG is in contention for the Indian air force's 126-aircraft medium multi-role combat aircraft deal, along with the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16 and RSK MiG-35.

Saab-led Gripen International says its two-seat demonstrator had flown 175 times before arriving in the UK. Also featuring a more powerful engine, extended-range performance and an expanded range of air-launched weapons, the aircraft made its first flight in May 2008.

Source: Flight Daily News