The Saab JAS 39 Gripen is a light single-engine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab. The Gripen has a delta wing and canard configuration with relaxed stability design and fly-by-wire flight controls. It is powered by the Volvo RM12, and has a top speed of Mach 2. Later aircraft are modified for NATO interoperability standards and to undertake air to air refuelling.
In 1979, the Swedish government began development studies for an aircraft capable of fighter, attack, and reconnaissance missions 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, first flying in 1988 and entering 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.
To market the aircraft internationally, Saab formed partnerships and collaborative efforts with overseas aerospace companies, including, in 2001, BAE Systems. On the export market, early models of the Gripen achieved moderate success in sales to nations in Central Europe, South Africa, and Southeast Asia.
An updated and redeveloped version, designated Gripen JAS 39E/F but also referred to as Gripen NG or Super JAS, began deliveries to the Swedish and Brazilian air forces as of 2019. The changes include the adoption of a new powerplant, the General Electric F414G, an active electronically scanned array radar, and significantly increased internal fuel capacity.
As of 2020, more than 271 Gripens of all models, A–F, have been built.
Saab and BAE developed the Cobra HMDS for use in the Gripen, based on the Striker HMDS used on the Eurofighter. By 2008, the Cobra HMDS was fully integrated on operational aircraft, and is available as an option for export customers; it has been retrofitted into older Swedish and South African Gripens. The HMDS provides control and information on target cueing, sensor data, and flight parameters, and is optionally equipped for night time operations and with chemical/biological filtration. All connections between the HMDS and the cockpit were designed for rapid detachment, for safe use of the ejection system.
Years Manufactured: 1987 - 2020
Platform Type: Fixed Wing, Combat
Initial Maker: Saab
Final Maker: Saab