BROMMA, Sweden, 7 April 2014. Defence and security company Saab has performed the first Gripen E flight with the new Infra Red Search and Track (IRST) sensor on schedule. The IRST does not emit a signal and can, without revealing the aircraft’s own position, silently detect, track, and identify all types of targets, officials say.
“The first flight in the Gripen E test aircraft with IRST has been performed with very good results. Multiple targets were detected, tracked and identified and the system works perfectly as expected. IRST is a new sensor on Gripen, which allows pilots to see great distances in several directions,” says Saab’s Wing Commander Flying Hans Einerth.
The purpose of the test flight was to verify IRST functions and the integration onto the Gripen E aircraft. The integration and development work is progressing according to schedule.
IRST, a new sensor, is located in the front of the aircraft and is very useful against aerial targets with low radar cross section, such as stealth aircraft. The sensor is looking forward in a wide sector registering heat emissions from other aircraft, helicopters, and from objects on the ground and sea surface.
Gripen E has significant performance improvements compared to previous versions, including a stronger engine, longer range, more weapons, new electronic radar, and more advanced avionics. Today, Gripen is the backbone of five nations' air defences: Sweden, South Africa, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Thailand. In addition, The Empire Test Pilot School (ETPS) in the U.K. uses Gripen in its training program for future test pilots.