'Gripen is like a Ferrari'

'Gripen is like a Ferrari'

Test pilot with Gripen, Anders Hakansson has been serving in the Swedish Air Force for the last 30 years in various capacities. Part of several important missions, Anders loves explaining the many capabilities of Gripen. He was one among the many Gripen test pilots who took part in ‘Aero India 2017’. 

The 51-year-old test pilot, feels the best part about being here was showcasing the
aircraft and its capabilities to the people and demonstrating the latest advancements to
his Indian counterparts. In an interview with Nina C George, Anders shares his memories of flying one of the world’s most powerful aircraft.  

The Gripen E has been launched. Can you tell us  about its features and what makes it different from Gripen?
Gripen is a multirole aircraft,. We have now upgraded it to Gripen E, which we call a smart fighter. The Gripen E has a totally new avionics system which includes a new radar. This means there’s room for more load and more fuel for the aircraft. You have to keep the aircraft modern for many years to come. Now  with Gripen E, we have secured the aircraft for the next 30 years.

How often do you upgrade the aircraft?
We always do a gradual upgradation of the aircraft. We launch a new software every year which will take the aircraft to the next level. We upgrade once every three  years.

What kind of operation is Gripen E used for?
It is used for the most complicated operations which take place air to air and air to ground. The multirole feature of the aircraft gives the pilot the liberty to switch from one operation to another rather swiftly without any delay.

You have trained many young Gripen test pilots. How has that experience been?
The younger generation is adept at computers which also makes them adapt to technology in a better way and grasp quickly the latest strides made in the avionics sector. You don’t really have to teach them step by step. They just need to know how to handle the system and do the tactics since they are fast learners.

Which aircraft did you fly when you began your career? And was the training as easy as it is today?
There were no computers when I began my career in the Swedish Air Force and we didn’t have the luxury of trying and testing on the simulators as we have today. I began my career by flying the Saab 37 Viggen, a mighty aircraft,
before I started handling the Gripen.

Which one is better — Saab 37 Viggen or the Gripen?
The Viggen is like an old Cadillac and the Gripen is like a Ferrari.

Which aircraft did you like at the ‘Aero India 2017’?  
I was thoroughly impressed with the Sukhoi 30. It’s a big aircraft with amazing capabilities.  

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