The hot weather flight test campaign taking place in the country aims to validate, in a real-world situation, the predictive calculations of engineers regarding the external heat that the aircraft can withstand. The city of Anápolis was chosen for this stage due to its climate and high altitude. “Anápolis is located at about 1,100 meters above sea level and experiences average temperatures of 35°C, which is why we decided to bring the fighter, normally located at the Gripen Flight Test Center (GFTC) in Gavião Peixoto, to the air base in Anápolis. This is also where the operational fighter jets already operate”, explained Erik Magnusson, the flight test engineer at Saab responsible for world-wide climate testing, who came from Sweden to participate in the tests.
A team of Brazilian professionals from Saab Brazil and Embraer is involved in various phases of the climate tests, which began in September in Gavião Peixoto and will continue in the coming months to validate other temperature parameters as part of the global testing campaign. ‘This is an important step that integrates the global testing campaign of the Gripen E, as the tests conducted here are valid for all aircraft of this model, not only for the Brazilian Gripen. This was also the first test outside of Gavião Peixoto and on the Brazilian Air Force base this year,’ Magnusson emphasized.
In Anápolis, the fighter aircraft was exposed to the sun for extended periods, allowing engineers to assess the aircraft’s performance in the city’s high temperatures. Over three days, Saab test pilot Jonas Jakobsson took off with the Gripen at an average temperature of 32°C and conducted a flight lasting approximately 1 hour. The results will be used to validate that the aircraft can operate in hot weather conditions, as required in Brazil.
Around 800 sensors, including the aircraft’s own sensors and others installed specifically for the test, collected data from the aircraft on the ground and throughout the flight. The information was transmitted in real-time to a telemetry room set up by the Saab and Embraer team at BAAN to monitor the tests. Upon landing, brake temperature measurements are taken, cooling is performed, and system data is downloaded for further analysis.
“The initial results were positive and confirmed much of what we had already predicted. The data from all the sensors will now be used to validate that the Gripen can operate with excellent performance in regions with hot, dry, and high-altitude climates, such as those found in Brazil, or in any other location in the world with similar temperatures,” said Eduardo Kitada, an Embraer systems engineer responsible for climate tests in Brazil.