RTAF's JAS-39 Gripen C/D (photo : Sorasakus Maximus)
While the Royal Thai Air Force was receiving the first part delivery of its Gripen Fighters, six Thai pilots arrived in Sweden to receive their Gripen training. This is the second group of Thai pilots to be trained at Skaraborg Wing, F 7, in Sweden. For the next six months, they will combine theory classes with training flights in the simulator and Gripen.
"We are talking about experienced F-16 pilots from the Royal Thai Air Force so we expect the training to be straightforward," says Captain Anders Hjärp.
The first group of Thai pilots were trained in 2010. That training course lasted one year, partly due to the pilots also being trained to become instructors. They also received training in the roles of both air defence and ground targets. This time however, the pilots will not become instructors. They will be trained in the air defence role, but not as instructors. This means that the training time is halved.
Training on the Gripen C/D
This is the first time that the training is carried out entirely on the Gripen C/D. To begin with, they will study the theory. This is combined with simulator flights. After one month, they will fly in the twin-seat Gripen D together with an instructor. After a week of dual instruction, it will be time to fly solo.
After completing five solo flights, the training will move to the next phase; from CT to CRT. CT stands for Conversion Training and is aimed at learning how to fly the aircraft. CRT stands for Combat Readiness Training. Here, the students learn to operate the radar and weapons systems and how to use them tactically in battle. This part of the training will last for about ten weeks. The training is expected to be completed by the end of June 2011, after which the Thai pilots will return to their home base at Surat Thani.