Arado Ar-240

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144/144) was refuelled at the Vidsel test range in preparation for another flight. A couple of days later, on 30th January 2003, during a pre-flight check, it was noticed that the aircraft was deformed and some rivets had become loose. An over pressure in the fuel tank had been caused by too small a clearance between an overflow pipe and a bulkhead. A secondary cause was the fact that the refuelling was executed at a higher pressure than the limit set in the manual. The aircraft returned to service after repairs had been carried out.

To increase its operational flexibility the Gripen will be qualified to refuel from four different aerial tanker aircraft types, and from almost any aircraft in the current NATO inventory. The four tanker types that will be involved in the testing are the KC-10 Extender, KC-135 Stratotanker, KC-130 Hercules and VC10. Although the first production Gripen capable of undertaking in-flight refuelling (39208) flew for the first time on 14th August 2002 and the prototype 39-6 (39207) on 29th January 2003, inflight refuelling tests are not planned to start before autumn 2003.

This new General systems Electronic Control Unit (GECU) was produced by Ericsson-Saab Avionics and was to be installed from aircraft 39207 onwards; 39207 was a Batch Two aircraft that was expected to function as a sixth prototype for new technologies and to make its maiden flight in 2001. Saab-BAe exhibited just a single Gripen, 39166, at the 1999 Paris Show of 12th to 20th June, the aircraft flying every day without support and spare parts to indicate the confidence the manufacturers now had in the aircraft.

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