Saab 39 Gripen
TBU Gripen01
Role Multirole fighter
Manufacturer Saab
First flight 9 December 1988
Introduction 9 June 1996
Status Active service
Primary users Luftforsvaret, South African Air Force
Number built 513 as of December 2009
Unit cost US$60-70 million (export price for Gripen C)

Gripen is the first of the new generation, multi-role fighter aircraft to enter operational service. Using the latest technology it is capable of performing an extensive range of air-to-air, air-to-surface and reconnaissance missions employing the latest weapons. Gripen is designed to meet the demands of existing and future threats, while simultaneously meeting strict requirements for flight safety, reliability, training efficiency and low operating costs.


Gripen is a truly international weapon system incorporating the latest technology from a team of major defence industries. As the newest generation of fighter in service today, it has been designed to maintain operational superiority against existing and future threats by providing spare system capacity to easily allow the incorporation of new sensors, avionics and weapons.

Netcentric Fighter

A truly Network Centric new generation multi-role fighter with the world’s most highly developed secure and multi-frequency data link, providing total situational awareness for the pilot in all roles.

Superior Sensor Fusion

A fully integrated avionic mission system operating on five 1553B digital data bus highways. This provides total sensor fusion, resulting in enhanced combat capability guaranteeing precision delivery of smart weapons.

Smart Digital Cockpit

An advanced fully digital cockpit layout with three large colour, Multi-Functional Displays (MFD) and Hands-On-Throttle-And-Stick (HOTAS) provide the pilot with a superior combat advantage. ‘Don’t need, don’t show’.

See First – Kill First

TBU Gripen02
A combination of low radar, IR and visual signatures, along with the long range PS05 multimode radar and sensor fusion, including world leading new generation weapon integration, ensure a high kill-ratio in long range engagements.

Outstanding Agility

The world’s most agile fighter for close combat. A combination of advanced aerodynamic layout utilizing a combined close-coupled canard – delta configuration and a triplex, digital Fly-By-Wire Flight Control System (FCS) leads to a winning Dog-Fight capability.

High Operational Tempo

Gripen’s high operational availability, rapid turnaround and minimal support requirements lead to sustained high sortie rates, giving Commanders the ability to meet the most demanding operations with minimum resources.


Gripen achieves the lowest operating cost of any fighter currently in operational service. This is accomplished by combining advanced system design, high technology and modern components.

Future development

The Gripen is built to be adaptable to changing threats and operational requirements faced by a modern air force. Gripen has significant growth available and many features are implemented in software. This means that modifications are much easier to design and implement. In most cases costly hardware changes can be avoided.


A two-seat version of the Gripen, which retains the full operational capability of the single-seater, is also available for tactical weapons training, more specialised missions and type conversion.

Technical Specifications

TBU Gripen05

Designed to ensure outstanding combat agility. Gripen features a delta-canard configuration with relaxed aerodynamic stability. The delta wing and canards, along with the digital Fly-By-Wire Flight Control System, give the fighter an optimum combination of manoeuvrability, acceleration, top speed and short-field performance.

Key Features:

  • Advanced aerodynamics combining a close coupled canard-delta configuration.
  • Lightweight structure employing advanced materials and construction techniques.
  • The world´s most highly developed data link.
  • Triplex, digital fly-by-wire Flight Control System for optimum combat agility.
  • Fully-integrated avionic systems operating via five MIL-STD 1553B digital data bus highways.
  • Advanced cockpit layout with large colour Multi-Function Displays (MFDs) and Hands-On-Throttle-And-Stick (HOTAS) controls.
  • Long range PS-05/A multi-mode, pulse doppler radar.
  • Powerful, fuel efficient, Volvo Aero Corporation RM12 turbofan engine.
  • On Board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS) and Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR).
  • Low visual radar and Infra-Red (IR) signatures.
  • Heavy and varied weapons load covering all mission parameters - Air-to-Air, Air-to-Ground, Air-to-Sea, Reconnaissance and Advanced Tactical Training - an unrivalled mix of simplicity and sophistication.
  • 50% lower operating costs than its best competitor.
  • “On-condition" maintenance.
  • Capable of operating from simple road bases and dispersed bases with the minimum of maintenance personnel and ground support equipment.


  • Guns: 1 × 27 mm Mauser BK-27 revolver cannon with 120 rounds (single-seat models only)
  • Hardpoints: 8 (three on each wing and two under fuselage) and provisions to carry combinations of:
  • Rockets: 4 × rocket pods, 13.5 cm rockets
  • Missiles:
  • Bombs:
    • 4 × GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bomb
    • 2 × Bk.90 cluster bomb
    • 8 × Mark 82 bombs

Gripen V-G

See: Saab 39 Gripen V-G

Gripen V-G is the "fifth generation" Gripen with increased fuel capacity, a more powerful powerplant, increased payload capacity, upgraded avionics and other improvements. The new Gripen V-G version has many new parts and is powered by a new Volvo Aero engine. The engine produces 25% more thrust at 106 kN, enabling a supercruise speed of Mach 1.2 with air-to-air missiles.

The Gripen V-G maximum takeoff weight has increased from 14,000 to 16,500 kg with an increase in empty weight of 200 kg. Due to relocated main landing gear, the internal fuel capacity has increased by 40%, with a significant increase in range. Combat radius will be 1380 km with six AAMs + drop tanks, and 30 min on station. Ferry range will be 4,070 km with drop tanks. The new undercarriage configuration also allows for the addition of two heavy stores pylons to the fuselage. A new Saab Electronic Defence Systems radar and a new antenna has been added.

Luftforsvaret has begun to upgrade all its Gripen to Gripen V-G. The upgrade programme should be finished in 2022 and would guarantee the operative life of the aircrafts at least until 2035.