Saab performed the first flight of its Gripen Demo multirole fighter yesterday, just over a month after unveiling the future capabilities demonstrator at its Linköping site in Sweden.

Performed by company test pilots Magnus Ljungdahl and Mikael Seidl, “the flight lasted for 30min and went totally according to plan”, says Saab, which adds: “we are flying what in many aspects is a completely new aircraft.”

First shown on 23 April, the Gripen Demo shares the same outer dimensions as the Gripen C/D delivered to the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa and Sweden, and also ordered by Thailand, but uses 3,500 new parts.

Key changes include the integration of a more powerful General Electric F414G engine, a new main landing gear stored in the aircraft’s wing, 40% more internal fuel and an increased maximum take-off weight of 16t.

The Gripen Demo project will prove technologies for Saab’s Gripen NG (Next Generation) fighter to be produced post-2015, including the use of a new active electronically-scanned array radar being developed by Saab Microwave Systems and Thales. However, elements of the demonstrator’s design enhancements could be made available to potential new customers, which include Denmark, India and Switzerland.

Hungary has one of its 14 Gripen C/Ds in the static display at ILA this week.

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Source: Flight Daily News