Belgian F-16

May 12/21: Deal Extension The Swedish Defense Materiel Administration (FMV) extended the Gripen future development support services contract with Saab. The order is valued at approximately $118 million and is valid from April 1 this year until December 31 next year. Serving as an extension of an existing contract, the latest contract supports the future development of the Swedish Air Force’s Gripen and other users of the aircraft.

SAAF JAS-39D, c. Gripen International

South African JAS-39D
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As a neutral country with a long history of providing for its own defense against all comers, Sweden also has a long tradition of building excellent high-performance fighters with a distinctive look. From the long-serving Saab-35 Draken (“Dragon,” 1955-2005) to the Mach 2, canard-winged Saab-37 Viggen (“Thunderbolt,” 1971-2005), Swedish fighters have stressed short-field launch from dispersed/improvised air fields, world-class performance, and leading-edge design. This record of consistent project success is nothing short of amazing, especially for a country whose population over this period has ranged from 7-9 million people.

This is DID’s FOCUS Article for background, news, and contract awards related to the JAS-39 Gripen (“Griffon”), a canard-winged successor to the Viggen and one of the world’s first 4+ generation fighters. Gripen remains the only lightweight 4+ generation fighter type in service, its performance and operational economics are both world-class, and it has become one of the most recognized fighter aircraft on the planet. Unfortunately for its builders, that recognition has come from its appearance in Saab and Volvo TV commercials, rather than from hoped-for levels of military export success. With its 4+ generation competitors clustered in the $60-120+ million range vs. the Gripen’s claimed $40-60 million, is there a light at the end of the tunnel for Sweden’s lightweight fighter? In 2013 a win in Brazil started to answer that question.

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Defense Industry Insider takes a look at what’s got the deck stacked against the JAS-39 Gripen and which contacts may keep the Swedish fighter aloft. In this article:

  • The Gripen’s performance in NATO exercises
  • An analysis of the Gripen’s competitive costs, features and performance
  • Vast chronology of influencing events, technical developments, and economic indicators
  • 12 photos and illustrations, including cutaways and weapons options
  • Specifications and planned upgrades including an AESA radar, GE’s more powerful F414 engine
  • Current dogfights: In requests ranging from 6 fighters to nearly 200, Gripen International has submitted bids to Norway, Croatia, and others, plus ongoing developments in Switzerland
  • Links our comprehensive news coverage since 2005, and other source materials

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