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) aircrafts that are both efficients, innovative and with an original configuration particularly suited to specific Swedish needs. We are thinking in particular of the J-35 Draken with double delta wing, or even the JA-37 Viggen equipped with duck planes and a thrust reverser on its reactor. In the early 1980s, the successor to these aircrafts was launched: the JAS-39 Gripen should be a versatile, light, handy, rustic and economical fighter. 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 motorways) in the event of conflict. From the outset, the Gripen was therefore thought of as an integrated combat system more than a fighter aircraft: the Gripens were thus equipped very early with data links allowing the fleet of light combat aircrafts to offer higher 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.
Gripen NG: a program full of promise
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