The Saab Gripen NG: small in size but large in performance

In 2007, the Swedish aircraft manufacturer SAAB launched the production of its technological demonstrator Gripen Demo. Based on a production Gripen D two-seater, this aircraft was intended to demonstrate the feasibility of a new generation of combat aircraft based on the existing Gripen design. SAAB's ambition is then to offer the Swedish air force and export a new generation economic and efficient aircraft, without compromising on the latest developments in electronics, sensors and armaments. An approach which is in line with the historical positioning of the company.

Since the 1950s, SAAB has in fact always been able to offer the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet) aircraft that are both high-performance, innovative and with original configuration particularly suited to specific Swedish needs. We think in particular of the J-35 Draken with double delta wing, or the JA-37 Viggen equipped with canard planes and a thrust reverser on its engine. At the beginning of the 1980s, the successor of these devices was launched: the JAS-39 Gripen should be a versatile device that was light, easy to handle, rustic and economical. The objective is then to be able, with a modest defense budget, to acquire a large number of aircraft that can be dispersed throughout the territory (including on roads or highways) in the event of a conflict. From the outset, the Gripen was then thought of as an integrated combat system rather than a fighter aircraft: the Gripens were thus equipped very early on with data links enabling the fleet of light combat aircraft to offer more tactical and operational flexibility than heavy interceptors, at lower cost. SAAB intends to keep this conceptual logic with its new generation of Gripen, while adapting it to new digital standards.

South African Gripen taking off. Well designed and economical to buy and use, the first versions of the Gripen were able to win a few export contracts in the nose and beard of the F-16 and the Mirage 2000.

Gripen NG: a program full of promises

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