Technical verification firings with Gripen on the Axalp

Bern, 08.04.2013 - This morning, after a direct flight from Linköping/Sweden, two Gripen C fighter aircraft landed at Emmen airbase. This week the two fighter aircraft will carry out technical verification firings with the on-board cannon at the Axalp firing range.

This morning, after a two-hour transit flight from Linköping, two Saab Gripen C single-seater fighter aircraft landed at Emmen airbase.

In the course of this week the two Gripen C are to carry out technical verification flights at the Axalp air force firing range. A total of five missions with several overflights each are planned, and only the last two missions are carried out with live ammunition. The 27mm on-board cannon of the Gripen is fired. The verification flights are flown by a test pilot of Saab and armasuisse.

Background and technical explanations
So far the Gripen was flown in Switzerland as follows:

  • July/August 2008 - Evaluation of Tiger Partial Replacement (TTE) with two Gripen D
  • October 2012 - Axalp aircraft firings - presentation of the Gripen F Demonstrator
  • January 2013 - Armament Program 12 (RP12) - presentation of the Gripen F Demonstrator

In contrast to the single-seaters (Gripen C and Gripen E), the two-seaters (Gripen D and Gripen F Demonstrator) are not equipped with an on-board cannon. Therefore to date no on-board firing flights could be carried out with the Gripen in Switzerland. After the source selection in favour of the Gripen verification flights with the on-board cannon on the Gripen C single-seater are now taking place within the Swiss topography. For this purpose a Swiss pilot was retrained to the Gripen C single-seater.

The reasons and goals of the technical verification firings with the on-board cannon in Switzerland are:

  • Performed in Switzerland since the Swiss topography differs from the one in Sweden;
  • After the source selection, first opportunity for technical tests with Gripen on-board cannon within the Swiss topography;
  • Testing of sights and on-board cannon;
  • Testing and verification of function, performance and reliability;

The exact type designations (classifications) of fighter aircraft by Western manufacturers often consist of a number, a letter and a name.

While the number designates the model, the letter indicates if the aircraft is a single-seater (A, C, E) or a two-seater (B, D, F). For example:

  • F/A-18C Hornet of the Swiss Air Force - single-seater (since version C)
  • F-5F Tiger of the Swiss Air Force - two-seater (since version F)

 Designation of the Gripen:

  • Gripen C - single-seater Gripen fighter aircraft - operated by the Swedish and other air forces.
  • Gripen D - two-seater Gripen fighter aircraft- operated by the Swedish and other air forces.
  • Gripen F Demonstrator - two-seater Gripen Demonstrator - basis for the Gripen E single-seater of the Swedish and Swiss air forces.
  • Gripen E - single-seater Gripen fighter aircraft - developed from the Gripen C.

Note for media representatives
There will be no media event.

Address for enquiries

Kaj-Gunnar Sievert
Head Communication armasuisse
031 324 62 47


Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports DDPS