Saab has received an order from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) to ensure the continued operation of JAS 39 Gripen C/D and to provide capability enhancements to preserve the operational relevance of the fighter aircraft. The order value is SEK 500 million. Gripen C/D is the system that will be used for many years to come in Sweden and in other countries that have purchased Gripen. The development is also done to further ensure a cost-effective solution regarding construction, design and procurement. The purpose of the order is to start implementation of the upgrade to fulfil the Swedish Armed Forces’ need to maintain the continued high capability and availability of Gripen C/D up to 2035.
“Gripen C/D is the backbone of the Swedish Armed Forces today and will continue to be for many years to come, so this is an important order where we will ensure the continued operation and operational relevance of Gripen C/D,” says Jonas Hjelm, Head of Saab’s Aeronautics business area.
The Saab JAS 39 Gripen (Griffin) is a light single-engine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace and defense company Saab AB. The Gripen has a delta wing and canard configuration with relaxed stability design and fly-by-wire flight controls. Later aircraft are fully NATO interoperable. As of 2020, more than 271 Gripens of all models, A–F, have been built. A new design from Saab was selected and developed as the JAS 39. The first flight occurred in 1988, with the delivery of the first serial production airplane in 1993. It entered service with the Swedish Air Force in 1996. Upgraded variants, featuring more advanced avionics and adaptations for longer mission times, began entering service in 2003.
There are also plans to keep some of the Gripen C/D active after 2025. This was recommended by the Swedish defence advisory committee in 2019. In 2006, Swedish Gripen aircraft participated in Red Flag – Alaska, a multinational air combat exercise hosted by the United States Air Force. Gripen flew simulated combat sorties against F-16 Block 50, Eurofighter Typhoon and F-15C and scored ten kills, including a Eurofighter Typhoon and five F-16 Block 50s on day one of the exercises with no losses. Three Swedish Gripen C also participated in a war game against five Royal Norwegian Air Force’s F-16 Block 50 fighters in Sweden. Swedish Gripen C and Norwegian F-16 flew three combat sorties; Gripen C scored five kills in each sorties against Norwegian F-16, on the last sortie F-16 scored a kill against Gripen.