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New Saab Fighter Jet Gives Swedish Defense Unexpected Headache

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16:42 02.09.2016(updated 16:43 02.09.2016)

The Swedish Air Force is facing major problems following its decision to acquire new Gripen E fighter jets. Whereas the plane itself is rather advanced, the training aircraft used for the training of pilots is outdated. Undisturbed, Saab hopes to throw new training jets into the bargain to fill the gap.

The Swedish Air Force is about to proudly replace 96 Gripen C/D aircraft currently in use with 60 Gripen E, the latter being a larger model with a number of improvements in the form of new radars and electronic warfare systems. Whereas the new Gripen E offers considerable technological advances, it also presents significant problems. The advanced technology is no match for the training aircraft currently in use in the Swedish Air Force.

The current Swedish training aircraft SK 60 has roots in the 1960s, and the gap between this trusted old-timer and the modern generation of fighter jets is far too big. As the warplanes become increasingly more sophisticated, the demands on school aircraft are increasing; the pilots must learn how to handle various weapons, radars and communication systems.

“The gap between SK 60 and Griffin E is too great. We won’t be effective if we continue practicing with SK 60. The sooner we can ditch it, the better,” Colonel Magnus Liljegren told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

The situation is further complicated by the high flying costs. Since only a small part of the training can be performed on outdated planes, pilots would have to do more training in the Gripen E. And flying a fighter jet is significantly more expensive than flying a small training aircraft. “The disadvantage of the simple school aircraft is that you need to practice more with Gripen, which makes it more expensive,” Claes Thagemark from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration told Svenska Dagbladet.Unsurprisingly, the future of the Swedish training aircraft is very much decided in the United States. The US Air Force is preparing an enormous contract to purchase about 350 new school aircraft. The current school aircraft in the US is about 50 years old, and four groups are vying for the lucrative contract. The one who gets the order is expected to gain a strong position even in other countries that plan to update their school aircraft fleet.

In this battle, Swedish Saab has teamed up with the American Boeing. Saab’s management naturally hopes to win the US contract, but looks for more. “I hope we’ll get the same platform for trainer aircraft in Sweden,” Ulf Nilsson, head of Saab’s aviation operations, told Svenska Dagbladet.However, the underlying danger is that the plane would become too expensive for the Swedish Air Force, since their colleagues in the US have much higher standards.

Nevertheless, Magnus Liljegren emphasized the need for speed and a better overall performance of the plane. According to him, Saab and Boeing’s joint win in the US would also whet the Swedish military’s appetite. The hidden bonus is that they expect to get the plane sooner if it is produced by a Swedish company.

Original post @sputniknews.com

****-END-****

SK 60 Trainer Aircraft

SK60_03.JPG

The SK 60 trainer aircraft, used by the Swedish Air Force (SAF), is a variant of the Saab 105 prototype. It is a jet-driven trainer aircraft with ejection seats for the instructor and trainee.

Adopted in 1962, the first SK 60 aircraft was flown in July 1963 and a total of 150 SK 60 aircraft were delivered to the SAF between 1966 and 1968. It entered into service in 1967, mainly for training purposes, replacing the De Havilland Vampire. 40 SK 60 aircraft, designated Saab 105, were also delivered to the Austrian Air Force.

Saab 105 prototype is produced in four different variants SK 60B, SK 60C, SK 60D and SK 60E.

In September 2009, the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) awarded a contract to the Saab Systems on behalf of the Swedish Air Force to develop and upgrade the SK 60 trainer aircraft until 2017.

Mission variants

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Sk 60 variants are something of a confusing issue. 149 were delivered as unarmed “Sk 60A” advanced trainers. However, as mentioned, the SAAB 105 had been designed with a secondary light attack role in mind, and when fitted with the six stores pylons and a Ferranti F-105 Integrated Strike & Interception System (ISIS) multifunction sight (in front of the left / pilot’s seat), the type was referred to as the “Sk 60B”. The Sk 60B also had provisions for the control system for the Rb 05 air-to-surface missile (ASM) — a radio-guided weapon, comparable to the US Bullpup A — but this capability was never actually used in service.

About 45 Sk 60A machines were fitted out to Sk 60B specification. The Sk 60B could carry:

  • Two 30-millimeter Aden cannon pods with 150 rounds each, or 12.7-millimeter (0.50-caliber) training gun pods.
  • 250-kilogram (550-pound) bombs.
  • Bofors 13.5-centimeter (5.3-inch) unguided rockets, two per pylon.
  • Bofors 14.5-centimeter (5.7-inch) unguided rockets, one per pylon.

None of the pylons were “wet”, so external tanks couldn’t be carried. Total weight of external stores was a maximum of 700 kilograms (1,540 pounds).

   SAAB 105 / SK-60B:
   _____________________   _________________   ___________________
 
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   ___________________

   wingspan                9.5 meters          31 feet 2 inches
   wing area               16.3 sq_meters      175.46 sq_feet
   length                  10.5 meters         34 feet 5 inches
   height                  2.7 meters          8 feet 10 inches

   empty weight            2,510 kilograms     5,535 pounds
   normal weight           4,050 kilograms     8,930 pounds
   MTO weight              4,500 kilograms     9,920 pounds

   maximum speed           770 KPH             480 MPH / 420 KT
   service ceiling         13,500 meters       44,300 feet
   range                   1,400 kilometers    870 MI / 755 NMI
   _____________________   _________________   ___________________

* In the mid-1960s, the Flygvapnet decided that it would be nice to have an enhanced light-strike version of the Sk 60 that could also be used for reconnaissance and forward air control (FAC) missions. The result was the “Sk 60C”, with the prototype performing its first flight on 18 January 1967. Source @airvectors.net

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SK 60 aircraft were once used for light attack operations such as preventing border crossings, fighting helicopters and taking part in joint operations with the army. The key variants that were developed based on such requirements are SK 60B, SK 60C, SK 60D and SK 60E.

SK 60B and SK 60C are two-seat attack variants developed for the SAF. SK 60C also meets reconnaissance requirements through the panoramic reconnaissance camera fitted to the nose of the aircraft. Armament including two automatic 30mm ADEN cannons or attack rockets, 12cm-13.5cm rockets or six armour-penetrating rockets, can be installed at hardpoints under the wings. Alternatively, the RB05 attack missile could also be carried.

SK 60D is the transport variant wherein the two ejection seats of the aircraft are replaced with four airline-type seats (without parachutes) or four austere seats (with parachutes). Only ten SK 60 aircraft were permanently configured as SK60D and finally flew.

SK 60D

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Usual fit for a Sk 60 is two ejection seats, but they can be removed and four fixed seats fitted in their place.

The SK 60D and Es are expected to be retired and sold off in the near future, perhaps along with about 10 of the A/B/C variants. Source @x-plane.org

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SK 60E is the four-seat variant installed with civil avionics including an instrument landing system. In 1993, an upgrade of the SK60 was undertaken to install twin Williams FJ44 engines with 8.45kN thrust and digital engine controls. These engines provide high thrust power, and are quiet and easy to maintain. About 115 aircraft including SK 60A, SK 60B and SK 60C have been modified. Informally, this variant is called the SK 60 (W) aircraft.

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Turbofan engines

Initially, SK 60 aircraft were fitted with two Turbomeca Aubisque engines. It is a low-bypass turbofan engine delivering a thrust of 1,540lbf at 32,500rpm. Each engine is 105in long, 22.3in in diameter and weighs 545lb.

Turbomeca Aubisque engines

012wX1Q6R3a5.jpegImage @digitaltmuseum.se

RM 9B aircraft engine (Turbomeca Aubisque), made in 1967

The Williams FJ44 is a turbofan engine jointly developed and produced by Williams International and Rolls-Royce. It delivers a thrust of 1,900lbf and weighs 460lb and is 53.3in long, with a diameter of 20.9in.

Williams FJ44

FJ44.png

Specification

FJ44 Specifications
FJ44-1A
FJ44-1C
FJ44-1AP
FJ44-2A
FJ44-2C
FJ44-3A
FJ44-3A-24
FJ44-4
Thrust (lbf)
1,900
1,500
1,965
2,300
2,400
2,820
2,490
3,600
Thrust (N)
8,452
6,672
8,741
10,231
10,676
12,544
11,076
16,014
Specific Fuel Consumption (lb/hr*lbf)
0.456
0.460
Dry Weight (lb)
460
460
468
530
520
535
535
650
Dry Weight (kg)
209
209
212
240
236
243
243
295
Overall Length (in)
53.3
53.3
57.9
59.8
59.8
62.4
62.4
68.6
Overall Length (mm)
1,354
1,354
1,471
1,519
1,519
1,585
1,585
1,742
Approximate Fan Diameter (in)
20.9
20.9
20.7
21.7
21.7
22.9
22.9
25.2
Approximate Fan Diameter (mm)
531
531
526
551
551
582
582
640
Bypass ratio
3.28
3.28
4.1

Williams FJ44 specification @wikipedia.org

Main material source @airforce-technology.com

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