Gripen Maritime is proposed carrier-based version based on the Gripen E. This variant has also been named Sea Gripen and Gripen M. Developed to counter and defeat advanced future threats, the E-series is for customers with more pronounced threats or wider territories to secure. The E-series has a new and more powerful engine, improved range performance and the ability to carry greater payloads. It also has a new AESA-radar, InfraRed Search and Track system, highly advanced electronic warfare and communication systems together with superior situational awareness. The E-series redefines air power for the 21st century by extending operational capabilities. Saab is establishing Gripen Maritime as its new generation carrier-based fighter for the future.
Intended for both CATOBAR and STOBAR operations, the Gripen Maritime size and flight/hangar deck manoeuvrability will offer a simple and robust fighter in terms of all embarked operations. In July 2017 the Brazilian Navy began studying the Saab Gripen for naval purposes by sending an attaché to the Brazilian Air Force. The Brazilian Navy is looking to replace its fleet of Douglas A-4 Skyhawk aircraft. Its small logistics footprint and reduced spares inventory will make it significantly more maintainable and require far fewer personnel than existing fleet fighters. Gripen Maritime will meet or exceed all operational requirements for maritime nations throughout the world. The fighter can operate in high humidity and is designed to withstand the corrosive effect of salt water ingress. The GE 414G engine is fully marinised for embarked operations.
Saab describes the Gripen as a “swing-role aircraft”, stating that it is capable of “instantly switching between roles at the push of a button”. The human/machine interface changes when switching between roles, being optimized by the computer in response to new situations and threats. Gripen Maritime is easy to maintain – an engine change can be fully completed in less than one hour. With a highly affordable operational cost per flight hour the Gripen Maritime is an ideal match for naval requirements. Rapid pitch and roll authority as well as precision glide slope control will give Gripen Maritime pilots an ideal platform for safe and steady deck landings. Gripen Maritime will benefit from the same reliability, maintainability and testability as existing versions of the aircraft. This will mean fewer failures, reduced downtime, short turnaround times, low lifecycle support costs and maximised availability for the aircraft’s operators.
Gripen Maritime is compatible with a number of different armaments, beyond the aircraft’s single 27 mm Mauser BK-27 cannon (omitted on the two-seat variants), including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missilesand anti-ship missiles. Equipped with 10 weapon stations, Gripen Maritime can be armed with the RBS15 air-to-surface missile system, as well as the METEOR Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM). In flight, the Gripen is typically capable of carrying up to 6,500 kg (14,330 lb) of assorted armaments and equipment. Equipment includes external sensor pods for reconnaissance and target designation, such as Rafael’s LITENING targeting pod, Saab’s Modular Reconnaissance Pod System, or Thales’ Digital Joint Reconnaissance Pod. The extensive international weapon clearances to date will offer a very wide choice of capability in all roles. Additionally, any specific weapons required by the user nation can be easily integrated onto Gripen Maritime.