SAAB Gripen Fighter Jet: Price, Specs, Photos, & Cockpit. SAAB Gripen is a single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft made by SAAB, Sweden. Gripen was first flown in December 1988 and entered working service with the Swedish Air Force in 1997. Gripen was the first Swedish production aircraft to be used for interception, ground attack and reconnaissance missions. This aircraft will substitute all current variants of the Viggen and Draken fighter aircraft.
Gripen fighter jets combine new capabilities in software-controlled avionics, modern materials, more advanced aerodynamic designs, and machines with fully integrated units. Gripen managed to fly at supersonic speeds above Mach 1.2 in January 2009 without using an afterburner, thus proving superiority of range and higher fuel savings.
SAAB Gripen Engine
The Gripen fighter jet is powered by a Volvo Aero F414G engine. The engine has the ability to provide 96 kN thrust (22,000 lb) and is equipped with full authority digital electronic control (FADEC). The digital engine control device automatically monitors engine parameters and starts the backup unit if needed. Condition monitoring body registers flight data.
An air-to-air refueling probe is drawn into the aircraft to maintain its aerodynamic profile. The longer flight time achieved by using air-to-air refueling results in pilots requires a greater supply of oxygen, so an installed oxygen generating unit (OBOGS) has been installed.
The maximum speed of the Gripen fighter jet is 2,470 km/ hour. The combat radius and ferry range of the aircraft are 800 km and 3,200 km, respectively. The service ceiling is 15,240 m. This aircraft weighs around 5,700 kg and the maximum take-off weight is 14,000 kg.
SAAB Gripen Specs and Variants
Gripen fighter jets are designed with unstable canards. Canards provide high pitch rates and low resistance, allowing the aircraft to fly faster, farther and carry more load.
The combination of the delta wing and Kanard gives Gripen better performance in terms of flying and taking off and landing characters. Avionics which is totally integrated makes this aircraft capable of reprogramming. This aircraft also has an internal electronic warfare device, making it capable of carrying maximum loads without compromising its electronic warfare capabilities.
Gripen manages to take off from the runway along 800 meters. One interesting ability of the Gripen fighter is its ability to arrive on public roads, which is just one of Sweden’s defense strategies. Once landing, the aircraft can be refueled and armed again in 10 minutes by 5 ground crews operating from a truck, then Gripen flies back to carry out its mission.
JAS 39A and JAS 39B are early versions of the Gripen fighter jet made by SAAB. JAS 39A is a single seat variant, while JAS 39B is a two-seat variant from Gripen. JAS 39B is equipped with the same avionics and weapons as JAS 39A, with the exception of a gun.
The next development version of the Gripen fighter jet is the JAS 39C and JAS 39D. The JAS 39D is an export standard variant, which was first sent to the Swedish Air Force in September 2002. The JAS 39C has a color cockpit display, on-board oxygen-producing body (OBOGS) and refueling capabilities in flight. JAS 39D is an upgraded version of JAS 39C which has two seats.
The new version of the Gripen fighter jet is Gripen next generation (NG), also developed by SAAB. Gripen NG features several interesting features including full interoperability with Nato, high functional tempo, fully digital cockpit with advanced features, network connectivity with multifrequency datalink and modern flight mission units.
SAAB Gripen Cockpit and Avionics
The Gripen cockpit is equipped with a SAAB Avitronics EP-17 series of electronic displays, with three multifunction screens and a 22×28 degree wide-angle head-diffraction display. The central head-down screen provides tactical data superimposed on a computer-generated map. The screens on the left and right provide flight data and target data from the sensor suite.
BAE Systems and SAAB Aerospace, with Denel Cumulus from South Africa, have developed an integrated helmet-mount display (IHMD) unit for Gripen, known as Cobra. IHMD is the development of a Striker helmet developed for Eurofighter Typhoon. Cobra installed at Gripen for South Africa. The Swedish Air Force also ordered the device in October 2007.
The flight control device is a digital triplex fly-by-wire device from BAE Astronics and Lockheed Martin. Time-critical device controls (for example, weapons and communications) are grouped in throttle and stick controls for hands-on throttle and stick (HOTAS) operations.
The avionics suite mounted on the Gripen fighter jet, including the EWS 39 electronic war suite, has been ordered by the Swedish Air Force. EWS 39 is an integrated EW unit that provides radar alerts, electronic support measures and chaff and flare dispensers.
The Gripen combat aircraft has a VHF/ UHF transmitter and receiver from SAAB Avitronics, and a Thales TSC 2000 friend or enemy identification body. Air-to-air data links allow real-time tactical data exchange within and between cooperating air units. In the role of attack and reconnaissance, data links allow surface data originated from radar to be transferred from one Gripen to a group of attack aircraft that are stealthy from the radar.
SAAB Gripen Sensor
Gripen fighter jets are equipped with a forward-looking infrared sensor (FLIR) and will have an SAAB IR-Otis infrared search and trace unit (IRST). Nine Swedish Air Force Gripens have been equipped with SAAB Avitronics modular reconnaissance pods, that include CA270 reconnaissance/ optical infrared sensors. The unit entered service in 2006.
The Swedish Defense Material Agency awarded SAAB a 400 million four-year arrangement in April 2010 to develop a modular reconnaissance pod device (MRPS) that will be installed on the Gripen fighter aircraft.
The Ericsson multi-purpose long distance pulse Doppler PS-05 has an air-to-air operating mode that includes remote search, multi-target track-while-scan, multi-priority target tracking, air combat quick search mode, attack assessment and on beyond the middle update visual missile range (BVR).
Air-to-surface modes include remote search/ target identification, dual priority target tracking, high resolution, real beam mapping, air to surface range and Doppler beam sharpening (DBS).
SAAB Gripen Weapons
The Gripen fighter jet has seven external hardpoints to carry loads: one at each wingtip, two under each wing and one in the center of the fuselage. Some of the weapons that Gripen can carry, including air-to-air missiles including the MBDA (formerly Matra BAe Dynamics) MICA, Raytheon AIM-120B AMRAAM and Lockheed Martin/ Raytheon Sidewinder AIM-9L (Designation of Swedish Air Force RB74), as well as missiles AIM-120B AMRAAM and Lockheed Martin/ Raytheon Sidewinder AIM-9L (Designation of Swedish Air Force RB74) long range SAAB Bofors/ MBDA Taurus KEPD 350 with a range of 350 km, has been successfully tested flying at Gripen.
The sidewinder, mounted on the wingtip, is an attack of all aspects, short-range missiles to improve air combat capabilities. Surface-to-surface missiles include SAAB RBS15F anti-ship missiles guided by radar and Raytheon Maverick missiles. In July 2008, Hungarian Air Force fighters successfully tested the Sidewinder air-to-air missile.
Subsequent versions of aircraft for Sweden will be armed with short-range air-to-air Diehl BGT Defense IRIS-T missiles and MBDA Meteors out of visual range (BVR) air-to-air missiles. IRIS-T shipments began in December 2005. In May 2008, South Africa ordered IRIS-T air-to-air missiles to complete its Gripen fleet until the original Denel A Darter missile entered service.
The built-in high-energy 27 mm Mauser pistol can operate in radar-guided automatic aiming mode. Stand-off dispensers are DWF39 from EADS (formerly DaimlerChrysler Aerospace) and Bofors. The Bofors ARAK 70 rocket pod was cleaned for use at Gripen.
SAAB Gripen Price and Orders
The price of the most up-to-date SAAB Gripen fighter jet is around US $ 60 Million. In November 1998, the South African Air Force ordered 28 Gripen multi-role aircraft (19 single seats and 9 double seats). Denel Aviation from South Africa will generate aspect of the center of the aircraft. The first flight was in November 2005 and deliveries began in April 2008 and will end in 2012. Four aircraft were officially handed over to SAAF in September 2008. The fifth flight was delivered in November 2008.
In June 2004, the Czech Republic executed a leasing agreement with the Swedish Government for 14 new Gripens (12 JAS 39C single seats and two JAS 39D two seats) for a period of ten years. The aircraft were delivered between April and August 2005.
In October 2007, Thailand decided on Gripen, with the requirement for 12 aircraft to change F-5B/ E fighters. An agreement to buy the first six Gripens (four 39C planes and two 39D planes was confirmed in February 2008. The Thai government approved the remaining six Gripens on February 2009. The aircraft will be sent in 2011.
In August 2010, the Thai Government launched THB170bn ($ 5.4 billion) from the 2011 fiscal defense budget to buy the second Gripen batch for the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF).
SAAB will develop an advanced avionics device for the Swedish Armed Forces Gripen fighter aircraft as component of a two-year Skr450m ($ 56 million) deal awarded in May 2010. The avionics body will include computer devices and displays. The first aircraft upgraded with the new avionics device will start operating in 2020.