During a flight trial, Saab’s Gripen E smart fighter flew supersonic for the first time, breaking the sound barrier while flying over the Baltic Sea on October 18.
This part of on-going trials for the aircraft as the company collects data as the plane hits and sustains various milestones like exceeding the speed of sound.
“As Gripen pilots, we are used to extreme speed but to go through the sound barrier for an aircraft’s first time is still a moment to enjoy. It is important that the aircraft handles the transition smoothly through what we call the transonic zone around the sound barrier and she certainly did, it was very smooth,” said Marcus Wandt, a Saab test pilot.
Robin Nordlander, the pilot who flew this flight, said he didn’t even notice breaking the barrier until looking at the Machmeter.
“Individual milestones such as this supersonic flight demonstrate the thoroughness of our engineering approach and the validity of the modeling,” said Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and head of business area Aeronautics. “It is further evidence that the Gripen E flight test program is going extremely well, whilst the delivery schedule to our two customers remains our key focus.”
The two customers referenced refer to the Swedish Air Force and Brazilian Air Force, who have deliveries on schedule for 2019.
This latest milestone is preceded by 20 hours of flight testing since the first back on June 15, 2017.