Lion Effort 2012, the biggest Gripen exercise to date with all five Gripen-operating nations taking part has just taken place. Out of the five Gripen-Nations four flew their own aircraft. Some 30 Gripen fighters and about 300 people are currently wrapping up the exercise, which has taken place in Sweden from the 27th of March to the 4th of April.
Lion Effort 2012 is being hosted by the Swedish Armed Forces, which participated with about 15 Gripens. The Czech´s brought three Gripens and three Let-159 Alca´s , Hungarian´s brought five Gripens and South African Air Force brought four Gripens to F 17 Wing at Ronneby, which was the base for this unique exercise.
It was the first time that the South African Air Force has taken part in a multinational exercise with its Gripens. The four aircraft brought by the SAAF were left behind at Saab Linköping facility instead of being shipped to South Africa in order for the SAAF to fly their own aircraft during the exercise. After the exercise the aircraft will return to Saab for the latest software updates before being shipped to South Africa in August.
The Royal Thai Air Force has declared its Gripen squadron operational but unfortunately didn´t bring any aircraft. It is, however, a member of the Gripen User Group and took part in Lion Effort with six observers.
Information from SAAB web site http://www.saabgroup.com/en/...
Photos from SilverWingPix and Europix