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The first Gripen was rolled out on 26 April 1987.
There are many versions of Gripen.
- JAS 39A: initial version that entered service with the Swedish Air Force in 1996.
- JAS 39B: two-seat version of the 39A for training, specialised missions and type conversion.
- JAS 39C: NATO-compatible version of Gripen with extended capabilities in terms of armament, electronics, etc. Can be refuelled in flight.
- JAS 39D: two-seat version of the 39C, with similar alterations as the 39B.
- Gripen NG: improved version, Changes from the JAS 39C/D include the more powerful F414G engine, Raven ES-05 AESA radar, increased fuel capacity and payload, two additional hardpoints, and other improvements. These improvements have reportedly increased the Gripen NG costs to an estimated 24,000 Swiss Francs (US$27,000) per hour,and increased the flyaway cost to 100 million Swiss Francs (US$113M).
- JAS 39E: single-seat production version developed from the Gripen NG program. Sweden and Brazil have ordered the variant.
- AS 39F: two-seat version of the E variant. Eight ordered by Brazil,to be developed and assembled there; planned for pilot training and combat, being optimised for back seat air battle management, with jamming, information warfare and network attack, besides weapon system officer and electronic warfare roles.Brazil’s designation for the variant is F-39F.
Defence Minister of India Manohar Parrikar visits the Saab stall at Aero India 2017
Saab is planning to sell the Gripen NG model to India.
SAAB GRIPEN NG : Raven ES-05 radar – This system will allow beaming into the enemy’s radar notch without losing track of the bad guys. Beaming is when a fighter turns around 90 degrees away (perpendicular) from the enemy’s pulse doppler radar array.
This is an especially useful tactic when the enemy fighter is above you, and trying to lock you up in the look-down-shoot down scenario.
With new missiles that have extreme ranges, like MBDA’s Meteor, a Gripen NG could fire these missiles at enemy fighters at long-ranges, and then jump into the enemy’s doppler notch to hide while still guiding its missiles. This could put the Gripen NG beyond the reach of the enemy’s infrared search and track system (IRST) that is impervious to jamming or beaming tricks during the entirety of the engagement, as well as the enemy’s radar for much of it. As such, the enemy fighters would not be able to detect the Gripen even while its missiles are well on the way. First shots, first kill.
The Gripen NG design was frozen in March 2014. Although it looks similar, the Gripen NG is slightly larger than the current Gripen. This enables the Gripen NG to boast a higher number of hardpoints (nine versus the seven on the Gripen C/D) as well as room for a more powerful engine (General Electric F414) and additional internal fuel. It is basically a new airframe design.