On Friday 6 October, an important milestone was passed when Saab delivered the first series-produced Gripen E fighter to the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (Försvarets materielverk, FMV), who will now operate the aircraft before eventually handing it over to the Swedish Armed Forces. Gripen E, or JAS 39E is a single-seat production version developed from the Gripen NG program. Sweden and Brazil have ordered the variant. Brazil’s designation for this variant is F-39E. The Swedish Ministry of Defense estimated the cost of the full system, comprising 60 Gripen E/F, at SEK 90 billion distributed over the period 2013–42. The Swedish Armed Forces estimated that maintaining 100 C/D-model aircraft until 2042 would cost SEK 60 billion (€6.6 billion in 2013), while buying aircraft from a foreign supplier would cost SEK 110 billion (€12.1 billion). On 15 June 2017, Saab completed the Gripen E’s first flight. By May 2018, the Gripen E had attained supersonic flight and was to commence load tests. On 24 November 2021, Saab announced that the first six Gripen Es were ready to be delivered to the Swedish and Brazilian air forces. The flight test programme with pre-production Gripen Es continued even after initial deliveries to both the Swedish and Brazilian Air Forces.
“I am very happy and satisfied that we have achieved this important milestone towards deployment. It is an important milestone and more deliveries will follow shortly. The delivery means that FMV has now received all parts of the weapon system to independently operate Gripen E, says Mattias Fridh, Head of Delivery Management at Gripen Design. Their technicians have received Gripen E training, and they have initial capabilities for flight line operations and maintenance. Support and training systems have been already delivered, and parts of the support systems delivered in 2022 were upgraded in August to match the new configuration. This is a very important step towards deployment in the Swedish Armed Forces in 2025 at F7 Såtenäs, and FMV has now applied for its own flight testing permit from the Swedish Military Aviation Safety Inspectorate. This is the culmination of intensive work in both development and production, where many employees have done a fantastic job,”says Lars Tossman, head of Saab’s Aeronautics business area.
The Saab JAS 39 Gripen is a light single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace and defence 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 delivered. 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. A new design from Saab was selected and developed as the JAS 39. A major redesign of the Gripen series, previously referred to as Gripen NG (Next Generation) or Super JAS, now designated JAS 39E/F Gripen began deliveries to the Swedish Air Force and Brazilian Air Force in 2019. Changes from the JAS C to JAS E include a larger fuselage, a more powerful engine, an increased weapons payload capability, and new cockpit, avionics architecture, electronic warfare system and other improvements.