History: Single-engined multirole aircraft designed for fighter, attack and recon missions using the same aircraft and pilot. Intial flight was on the 9:th of december 1988 and the first airplane was delivered in 1995. IOC (Initial Operational Capability) was achieved in 1997 and JAS is destined to replace both J 35 Draken and JA 37 Viggen. Even though the project has been marred by some spectacular failures such as the crash at the Stockholm water festival the project has been for the most part a success. Orders have been placed by the Swedish Air Force and the South African Air Force. The Hungarian Air Force has agreed to a lease-buy contract and several other nations such as Austria and The Czech Republic are considering buying Gripen.
Current status: Gripen was developed with manuverability, interchangability and cost as the main objectives. Because of this Gripen is very light, very manuverable and very versatile. However there have been some problems with the fly-by-wire system in the aircraft which has been responsible for the mishaps in early development. Gripen is cheap for an aircraft of its capability when compared to Rafale, Eurofighter and F-22. It does have some problems though. While being small and light is for the most part a good thing it also means that Gripen can not carry as much ordonance as other similar aircraft. In fact a A-10 Warthog could quite comfortably carry the weight of a unloaded Gripen. Gripen is also somewhat lacking in range, mainly because it was built as a air-defense fighter and Sweden is not all that big. The intial versions of Gripen were designated A for single-seat
and B for the two-seat training version. SAAB has since then designed a new version together with British Aerospace to comply with NATO standards. This version is designated C and also incorporates some upgrades to the engine and cockpit.
Length: 14.1 meters (39B: 14.8 meters)
Wing Span: 8.4 meters
Height: 4.5 meters
Thrust: 8210 kp (with AB)
Weight: 6.6 tons (unloaded)
Speed: Mach 2+
Runway Length Required: 800 meters
Engine: Volvo Flygmotor RM12 (Very modified GE F404 with Volvo Aero Afterburner)
Radar: Ericsson PS-05/A pulsedopplerradar
Air to Air: 27mm Mauser Bk27 cannon, Rb74 (AIM-9L Sidewinder), Rb99 (AIM-120 AMRAAM)
Air to Ground: Rb15F Anti Ship missile, Rb05, Rb75, Bk90, ARAK M70 capsule
Sources: saab.se, flygplankort