Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content


The Smart Fighter

Quick Launch


Gripen-IRST-001 (2).jpg

​The Gripen project has quietly built momentum since it began in the early 1980s and now stands as arguably the most promising export-oriented combat aircraft programme in the world, says Angad Singh in an exclusive report on the fighter aircraft which featured as the cover story “The Gripen Forges Ahead In Super Mode” for the May-June issue of the Vayu magazine.

Gripen made its first flight in December 1988, and the first production aircraft was delivered to the FMV in 1993. In total, Sweden had ordered 204 fighter aircraft which were delivered in three batches. Though the first batch was delivered under a fixed price contract, Saab and FMV agreed on a ‘target price’ concept for the second batch. Taking it even further, the third batch was delivered in 2008 at a cost that was 10 per cent less than the agreed-upon price, impressively increasing the efficiency of the programme.

For Gripen’s new variant, Saab and its partners have invested heavily in cutting edge technologies such as gallium nitride (GaN) for sensors such as AESA radars and electronic warfare (EW) systems. Selex Skyward-G infrared search and track (IRST) sensor and a new IFF (identification friend or-foe) system have added to the buzz around Gripen E development.

The Gripen E test aircraft which has already shown its supercruise ability in 2009, has logged around 300 flights ratifying its vital systems and airframe attributes and generating unprecedented interest across the globe.

Gripen is being successfully operated in six countries- Czech Republic, Hungary, ...

Gripen E represents that rarest of capability improvements, one that does not come with a correspondingly hefty price tag, says Angad Singh in an exclusive report on the fighter aircraft which featured as the cover story “The Gripen Forges Ahead In Super Mode“ for the May-June issue of Vayu magazine.​.

Gripen E development, right from the start has been focused on producing an aircraft that combines high performance and low cost. For example, GE F414 engine, with its high performance and reliability was the obvious choice for the new generation aircraft. Also, sensor development for Gripen E focuses on leveraging a mix of innovative solutions and proven technologies which eventually keep the cost down.

Gripen E would have sensors that are enhanced, not just in comparison to its earlier variants, but also to contemporary fighters worldwide. It would also feature GaN-based EW suite that provides tremendous situational awareness and BriteCloud which is an onboard active decoy from Selex.

All this, according to the report, results in an aircraft that looks much the same – and feels much the same – but brings a quantum leap in performance and combat ability to the type.

Saab has not only drawn on its experience from the Gripen A/B to C/D conversion programme, but also on industry best practices acquired from manufacturing work done for Airbus and Boeing commercial products.

More emphasis on pre-production design work has led to reduced parts count for the new airframe, and shorter component manufacturing times, making each aircraft less ...

​Czech Republic Air Force Gripen performs a stunning air display at ILA Berlin Air Show. The country sent two Gripen, one for static and the other for flying display at the event. 

ILA Berlin Airshow was held from 20 to 25 May.​

Martin Hansson.jpg
On Sunday, June 1, Gripen demo pilot Martin Hansson will perform his last aerial display in Sweden.

Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to attend Hansson’s aerobatic display at the Swedish Air Force’s Flight Day 2014 in Ronneby this weekend.

“It is a special feeling when you know that so many people will be coming to watch the display.  Since no one can usually see us, being in the limelight gives us an extra adrenaline rush,” he says.

About the flight demonstrations, Hansson says that it is a standard program. Sometimes he adds something extra while performing the stunts. A demonstration program includes the most advanced maneuvers that pilots can do with Gripen and it can be mentally tiring.

“Flying is okay, however, it is the curves that are stressful. During an airshow, my body is subjected to g-forces between minus 1.5 and 9 g. This means that my body weighs nine times more than it is. It is not physically strenuous, but is mentally tiring."

This year marks 70 years of F17 and the theme for the day is: F17 Yesterday – Today – Tomorrow.

Read the full story:  En sista uppvisning på F17

​Gripen has a very moderate life cycle cost compared to its competitors. Life cycle cost equals acquisition cost plus operational costs during the entire lifetime. Flight hour cost is a parameter included in operational cost. When comparing these costs, it’s important to calculate with equal conditions, i.e. to compare “apples with apples”. An independent study based on open source ordered by Saab was conducted by IHS Jane’s with the following results:

Janes Graph_700.jpg
Gripen has a considerably lower flight hour cost than its competitors. Some competitors are even several times more expensive than Gripen. There are three main reasons for this:

Cost consciousness from the start:

  • Cost has always been a design parameter and Saab’s engineers are asked to maximise performance at a given cost, not just to maximise performance freely.
  • Cost is a design parameter
  • Maintenance and mean time between failure is part of the design variables

We select the best suppliers

  • Saab is a systems integrator for Gripen
  • For every system category, we look for the best price-performance, choose freely, and select the suppliers that best meet our high standards

Lean and model based development

  • The models provide early design validation which reduces risk
  • ​The models help engineers to visualise systems’ behaviour and thereby help avoiding misunderstandings

Cost Summing up:

  • Cost is not something that is added later. It is built in from the very beginning “as a design feature”
  • Gripen is breaking the cost curve
  • Lowest life cycle cost on the market
Read more: Gripen ...

flight formation.jpg-large
On Saturday, as Jacob Zuma swore to protect the Republic of South Africa and serve the nation, the occasion was gloriously marked by an aerial display, including a formation flypast by the South African Air Force, showcasing its Gripen fighter jets, reports

The lead Gripen, painted in the colours of the African national flag, was flown by the Commanding Officer of 2 Squadron based in Air Force Base Makhado, Limpopo, Luitenant Colonel Musa Mbokota.

The unique formation flypast was in the shape of "20", marking South Africa's 20 years of democracy.

The aerial display was a hit with the crowd at the inauguration who cheered with ululation and vuvuzela blasts.

Read the full story: 20 Years flypast wows inauguration crowd

Czech Republic is ready to extend the autumn mission of its Gripen fighters in Iceland if NATO requires it, reports the Prague Post.

The defence ministry's spokesman Jan Pejsek told the Czech media that though Czech Republic has not received any official request from the NATO headquarters yet, it is ready to comply with NATO’s request for extending Gripen’s air policing period. 

“We, the ministry, have no problem with it,” Pejsek said.

Martin Stropnický, Defense Minister, Czech Republic also spoke about the NATO request during his visit to the Čáslav air base.

“Our Iceland air policing this autumn, which was planned for three weeks, is to be extended at least twice, but it will probably be longer,” Stropnický said. 

Physically, the planes will only be on the island for about three weeks. The mandate approved in 2012 provides for a maximum stay of five weeks. For the rest of the time, the Gripens would only fly to the northern Atlantic Ocean from the Czech Republic in case of danger.

The Czech Gripen will provide aerial surveillance to Iceland between September and December.

Read the full story:  Czechs will accede to NATO request to protect Iceland for longer​


The IRST for Gripen E is produced by Selex in Scotland and called Skyward G. IRST stands for Infrared Search and Track and is an electro-optical system mounted in the nose of Gripen E. Its sensor sits on top of the nose, just in front of the canopy, and is looking forward in a wide sector registering heat emissions from other aircraft, helicopters and from objects on the ground and sea surface. The IRST is a passive sensor, meaning that it never emits any energy. It only listens for energy coming from other sources. The tactical advantage of a passive sensor is that it will not give your position away. Opponents will have no indication whatsoever that Gripen E is using its IRST to monitor their activities.

IRST Summing up:

  • Totally passive – nobody knows you are looking
  • Senses heat from aircraft, tanks, ships
  • Range can be many times more than visual range
  • Enables silent attacks​

Gripen pilot3.jpg

It's not just that today's fighter pilots are more skilled and can do more tasks, it takes more knowledge, says Carl-Fredrik Edström, division manager at the 212th fighter division at F 21, in a Forsvarsmakten report. 

In the 1990s, it was completely different times. While one pilot was a fighter pilot, another was attack or reconnaissance pilot. Today it is more complex. A Gripen pilot must be capable of undertaking all the roles - fighter, attack and reconnaissance - both in a national and in an international context.

Today's advanced and efficient Gripen systems requires a pilot to have a wider range of skills and be well prepared for the tasks to be performed. For example, to manage all systems and sensors, pilots must have a wider range of skills in all roles, explains Edström.

Edström who has flown Viggen in the 90s, says that the way pilots fly a fighter aircraft now is different from before. “In the 90s, I used to sit in the plane and fly, getting information continuously during the mission. I can fly in the same fashion today, but then, I would not be extracting the maximum capability out of the Gripen system,” he says.

Today, a pilot sits with a thick block on his knees that is filled with information to carry out the mission. Even the smallest detail is co-ordinated. Today, the threat is higher and the excercises are more complex. The pilots also need to interact with air, naval and ground ...

Hungarian Air Force Gripen performs at Susreti za Rudija, an annual event organized to commemorate Rudolf Perešin, a pilot and the hero of the "Croatian War of Independence 1991-1995".

< 1081 - 1090 >