The first Gripen fighter for Thailand completed its maiden flight in Linköping, Sweden, today. The flight took off at 14:50 local time and lasted for 80 minutes with Saab test pilot Mats Thorbiörnsson at the controls.

In 2008, Thailand ordered a complete aircraft and command and control system from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) in a Government to Government deal.

The order includes a first batch of six Gripen C/Ds with associated equipment and service, one Saab 340 aircraft equipped with Erieye radar (AEW), a Saab 340 for transport and training plus an integrated command and control system with data links.

The Royal Thai Air Force will start their training on Gripen in Sweden next year and the fighters will be delivered to Thailand in 2011.