Saab and the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (Försvarets materielverk, FMV) have signed a contract and Saab has received an order to ensure the continued operability of and provide capability enhancements to the JAS 39 Gripen C/D fighter jet. The order value is approximately SEK 3.5 billion and the contract period is 2023-2029. The contract also includes options that enable FMV to place additional orders for capability enhancements during 2023. The enhancements will provide the Swedish Air Force (Svenska flygvapnet) with a more effective and powerful fighter jet capability. Interoperability is a prerequisite as the platforms will be used in parallel over many years.
“This upgrade will provide the Swedish Air Force with a significantly stronger fighter capability. The contract is a big leap ahead in terms of radar performance and functionality, both for the hardware and software, and will future-proof the operational capability of Gripen C/D,” says Jonas Hjelm, Head of Saab’s business area Aeronautics.
The aircraft will be equipped with a new version of the engine, which will enhance flight performance. A more effective electronic warfare system will also be introduced and the upgrade will create conditions for increased attack capability with a new payload. The order encompasses an upgrade to Saab’s latest fighter radar, which provides increased performance with emphasis on enhanced fighter capability and extended detection and tracking range. It also includes an upgraded and future-proof avionic system which, among other features, enables fast software updates of the sensor function. The capability enhancement will enable better interoperability between Gripen C/D and Gripen E, for example by the upgrade of support systems and data links.
The Saab JAS 39 Gripen (Griffin) is a light single-engine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace and defense company Saab AB. In 1979, the Swedish government began development studies for “an aircraft for fighter, attack, and reconnaissance” (ett jakt-, attack- och spaningsflygplan, hence “JAS”) to replace the Saab 35 Draken and 37 Viggen in the Swedish Air Force. The Gripen has a delta wing and canard configuration with relaxed stability design and fly-by-wire flight controls. Being intentionally unstable and employing digital fly-by-wire flight controls to maintain stability removes many flight restrictions. The Gripen also has good short takeoff performance, being able to maintain a high sink rate and strengthened to withstand the stresses of short landings.