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  • Sales May Not Boom, But Gripen NG Does
    Posted by Bill Sweetman 4:08 PM on Jan 21, 2009

    Saab's Gripen NG demonstrator achieved supercruise today. On a test flight at 28,000 feet over the Baltic, test pilot Magnus Ljungdahl accelerated to Mach 1.2 and cut the afterburner. The prototype - powered by a General Electric F414 engine - stabilized at Mach 1.2 in military power. Ljungdahl's supersonic run ended when he ran out of test area.

     

    blog post photo
    Saab photo

     

    In the interests of fairness and objectivity it should be pointed out that it tends to be a smidge cold in January over the Baltic, which reduces the speed of sound. (Britain's Lightning fighter hit the Mach 2 mark in a late-November cold snap in 1958.) And one can assume that the jet was in clean configuration. Gripen is not going to be a supercruiser in the F-22 class - and neither is anything else.

    Nonetheless the Mach number is slightly higher than what the JSF has achieved so far, with afterburning.

    It is also good news in terms of what it means for the jet's ability to sustain high subsonic speeds with a large external load, transonic acceleration and other parameters. The F414 has a greater specific thrust than the standard Gripen's RM12 (an F404 derivative), which other things being equal gives better top-end performance.

    The Gripen Demo has flown 40 times since getting airborne on May 27 last year.

    Tags: ar99, gripen, supercruise

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