Maiden Flight of First Czech Gripen
The Czech Air Force will be the first NATO country to operate Gripen, one of the world's most modern, fourth generation fighter aircraft. The fighters will be delivered by FMV to the Czech Republic from April 2005.
Gripen was up for 1 hour and 25 minutes and was flown by Mats Thorbiörnson, one of Saab's test pilots. Following today's maiden flight there will be a period of further air and ground tests to verify that the systems are working in line with the Czech specifications.
The fighter that made the historical flight is the first of 14 aircraft that the Swedish state (FMV) is leasing to the Czech armed forces.
The contract also includes training. Since August, the first Czech pilots have been re-training for the Gripen systems at the F7 Swedish Air Force base in Såtenäs, western central Sweden. Approximately 40 engineers are also being trained in Gripen systems at the Armed Forces Halmstad Schools (FMHS) on the south-west coast.