Saab has offered a new solution for multi-mission operations at Defense & Security 2017 in Thailand. Thanks to fifty years of expertise with datalink technology for combat aircraft, the company is a leader in multi-system integration involving only progressive software upgrades instead of mid-life upgrades to reduce costs and maximise investment.
Today a four-ship Gripen formation can exchange information about each aircraft’s weapons payload and fuel flow as well as navigation and target information automatically. A large number of air operations in the Asia Pacific region are conducted over water and airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) is vital for their successful conclusion. These are not necessarily military missions but may include Search and Rescue (SAR), drug surveillance, anti-piracy patrols, or refugee monitoring and involve other agencies such as the coastguard, all of which have to be controlled and coordinated.
The success of such multi-mission operations is not only due to the ships and aircraft involved but to the training of all the personnel involved in the air, on the ground or at sea. Saab is promoting an Air Combat Simulation System concept in which all players could be involved including fighter control and airborne tactical air controllers.
The systems could also be used for technology research and development where the performance of various types of military aircraft could be simulated to test their capabilities before they were selected for service. The Air Combat Simulation System would also be a cost effective way of increasing an air force’s current operational effort.
A current operator of both the Saab Gripen and Saab Erieye AEW&C aircraft, the Royal Thai Air Force has an aspiration to become the best air force in the region by 2019 and Saab is pitching its Air Combat Simulation System concept as an important step in that direction.