The JAS 39 Gripen is a small, agile and lightweight fighter design for multiple roles
in the Royal Swedish Air Force. JAS stands for Jagt-Attack-Spaning which means Fighter-Attack-Reconnaissance.
The Gripen (Griffon) design features canards positioned close in front of the delta
wing. It is powered by the Volvo licensed built General Electric F404-GE-400 engine.
The airframe structure incorporates light but extremely strong composite materials.
It has a modern glass cockpit with three multi function displays and a wide-angle
HUD. Its easily programmable software and associated systems make the aircraft suitable
to configure it for all kinds of mission profiles.
The JAS 39A single-seater and the JAS 39B two-seater were the first production aircraft
to enter service in the Swedish Air Force in 1997. The improved JAS 39C and two-seat
version JAS 39D are the latest production batch. Improvements include air-to-air
refuelling capability, NATO weapon pylons, and NATO compatible systems. The export
version are also based on the C/D variants. After 2004 Swedish A/B variants will
be updated to Batch 3 (C/D) standard.
Export customers thus far are South Africa, Czech Republic and Hungary. South Africa
was the first foreign customer for the Gripen, ordering 19 single-seat and 9 twin-seat
aircraft in 1999. The aircraft will be delivered between 2007 and 2011 and replace
the Cheetah C/D aircraft currently in service. In 2003 Hungary signed a lease-and-purchase
contract for 12 single-seat and 2 twin-seat aircraft to be delivered in 2006 and
2007. The contract consists of a 10 year lease after which the aircraft will be property
of the Hungarian government. The Gripen will be fully NATO compliant and represent
the main fighting force of the Hungarian air force for the next 30 years. In 2004
the Czech Republic signed a lease contract for twelve single-seat and two twin-seat
Gripen aircraft for a period of 10 years. The aircraft are diverted from the production
line destined for the Swedish Air Force for reduced delivery times. The first Czech
Gripen made its first flight in November 2004 and will be delivered to the Czech
Air Force in April 2005, making the Czech Republic the first NATO operator of the
type. The last aircraft is to be delivered in August 2005. The JAS 39 C/D is fully
NATO compliant and will fill the gap in the Czech air defense left by the MiG-23/29
disposal and MiG-21 retirement.
The Gripen was also offered to Poland to fill its requirement for 48 fourth generation
fighter aircraft, but Lockheed Martin's F-16C/D Block 52 fighter was the winner.
Austria preferred the Eurofighter Typhoon over the Gripen. The Saab-BAE SYSTEMS consortium
also lost potential export sales to customers the Joint Strike Fighter, such as the
Netherlands and Australia. Brazil is still postponing its decision for its future
fighter, which may be the Gripen, Mirage 2000-9 or Su-35. Thailand was also interested
in the Gripen, but no deal could be materialized between the Thai and Swedish government
and it seems to be looking at the Sukhoi Su-30MKI variant instead.
one 80.5 kN (18,100 lb st) General Electric/Volvo Flygmotor RM12 (F404-GE-400) afterburning
length 14.10m (46 ft 3 in); height 4.50m (14 ft 9 in); wing span 8.40m (27ft 6¼ in)
empty 6622 kg (14,600 lb); Max Take-Off Weight 12.500 kg (27,560 lb)
estimated max level speed at 10975m (36,000 ft) Mach 2.0 or 2126 km/h (1321 mph) Armament:
one Mauser MK27 27mm cannon; up to 6500 kg (14,330 lb) of Air-to-Surface Missiles,
munitions dispensers, rockets, free-fall bombs, Air-to-Air Missiles including AIM-120
AMRAAM, recce/sensor pods, auxiliary fuel tanks.
Role: Multi-role fighter Builder: SAAB Aerospace, (BAE Systems) Variants: JAS 39A,
JAS 39B, JAS 39C, JAS 39D Operators: Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa