Pursuit of perfection:  GRIPEN NG

Mena Adel

Today we live in a world that is very different from the previous times, especially after the epidemic crisis that spread around the whole world in 2020. Also due to the quarantine methods to cope with the epidemic “global arms production was not fully immune to the impact of the pandemic. In many cases, measures taken to slow the spread of the virus disrupted supply chains and delayed deliveries”. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI),which showed the problem of logistics support for spare parts and maintenance besides deals, so there was a strong need to have the best technologies to achieve the target required to operate at the lowest cost and logistical burden due to the high operating costs of modern weapons and logistics

On the political level, many confrontations have been inflamed due to new political changes and the conflict over energy resources and spheres of influence, which made it clear that there is a strong need to possess contemporary air weapons capable of protecting the state effectively and efficiently in light of current and future threats. Also there are many factors influencing and affecting decision makers in the selection of aircraft sources:

1- U.S. sanctions (CAATSA) applied to countries that possess Russian weapons with huge deals, such as (Turkey), which gave a way to large-scale arms exports in favor of other non-Russian sources

2- Political conflict with U.S. policies, which affects the possession of weapons with specifications and capabilities that are not standard or satisfying or with high operating expenses

3- Political conflict with China or dissatisfaction with the technological level of Chinese arming, even if it is cheap with low operating costs

4- With the emerging need of possessing new generations of aircrafts such as the fifth generation fighters and the increasing number of owners and increased operating expenses, a new needs was highlighted, which is the need to integrate them (5th gen) with other fighters with low operating expenses and great effectiveness to complement each other and make balance and efficient integration between them at the operational level

An ideal solution with future realistic view

The Swedish company Saab has been thinking ahead of producing a fighter jet which can operate under the most difficult circumstances and intense rate of operations during a confrontation that may be unfair against a numerically superior enemy supported by the latest airborne, land based, and sea based systems. Therefore, the need for a modern fighter with revolutionary technological capabilities and lethal and deterring weapons capabilities along with unprecedented logistical flexibility and low operating expenses has emerged. And to solve this difficult equation Saab has exploited its long history with 81 years of experience in manufacturing aircrafts since the manufacturing of the Saab 17. They succeeded in solving the equation to introduce the new generation Saab Gripen for the first time in 2014

(Saab gripen technical brochure)

(A2AD)Deadly new updates

These threats will always occupy the minds of the planners of the military operations and the weapons manufacturers because of the obstruction they carry out on the battlefield that threaten the entire war planning to fail as well as threaten the borders of the state .by the time goes the number of countries owning them increases, especially since owning these capabilities is not difficult and their tactics are easy to imply. That’s why the Air Sea Battle (ASB) concept was developed to complete (OODA-loop) concept, which is the basic concept of allies to face these threats:

 By developing networked, integrated forces capable of attack-in-depth to disrupt, destroy and defeat adversary forces (NIA/D3). ASB’s vision of networked, integrated, and attack-in-depth (NIA) operations requires the application of cross-domain operations across all the interdependent warfighting domains (air, maritime, land, space, and cyberspace, to disrupt, destroy, and defeat (D3) A2/AD capabilities and provide maximum operational advantage to friendly joint and coalition forces

(Air Sea Battle office 2013)

Awesome flexibility with great combat effectiveness

Saab Gripen is one of the best NATO fighters suitable for the application of this concept and is considered to be the best at the level of logistical support for the following:

In the offensive operations: 10 hardpoints with 5300kg

Gripen is easily integrated into the communications network and data links with satellites and air and ground command centers C2 of allies or the producing country (Sweeden). With a multi-mission combat payload of 5300 kg carried out and prepared in only 20 minutes. By choosing from different arming options: air-to-air, air to ground and reconnaissance pods for a combat range of up to 1,500 km long or within the hostile border. Once orders have been received you can conduct high-quality operations .especially the high resolution reconnaissance operations. (this mission has been accelerated by the Gripen in Libyan airspace-unified protector 2011) to provide accurate information on hostile forces and then If the decision is made to attack, Gripen can avoid air defenses with modern design with low radar signature, electronic warfare (EW) and situational awareness (SA) capabilities or engage and destroy them to open a safe corridor to the attacking fighters to attack with a variety of weights, purposes ammunitions to achieve the desired objective. beside the ability to protect the combat formations from enemy interceptors by advanced missiles from long distance, by exploiting the capabilities of the new radar with AESA technology . Also there is no fear of low fuel capacity due to the ability to airborne refueling. This guarantees that the Gripen can remain in the area of operations for more than 8 Hours.

SAAB GRIPEN technical brochure

In the defensive operations: 9 A/A missiles with 7 of them (BVR) missiles                                                                    

In the event of a SWEEP of the airspace by enemy fighters and bombers in large numbers, it will only take 10 minutes for the Gripen to get airborne (to have the air-combat missiles loaded to it and take off ) and intercept enemy air assets from long distance to exploit its advanced technology of monitoring capabilities, Active and passive tracking, revolutionary computer and data-link with the rest of the formation to carry out the most appropriate tactic, even if it is in a less numerical position. And also exploit the advanced missiles in beyond visual range (BVR) combat, close to within visual range (WVR) and helmet mounted sight (HMD)

In the DOOM day scenario:

The Gripen deserves to be titled as the best fighter in the world in this case, in case that the country is attacked by cruise and ballistic missile swarms and a large portion of the state’s infrastructure is destroyed, including airports and aircraft hangars, the Gripen will continue to fight to the last breath because of their ability to take off and land from any road strip of  500-600 meters after refueling and being loaded with ammunition in 10-20 minutes and even change the engine in less than an hour, To hinder the efforts of hostile forces to take control of the area of operations on land, sea and air and regain air-superiority with the lowest lifecycle costs

Extraordinary success anywhere.

From USA – NO AEWAC NO PROBLEM

‘Gripen first participated in Red Flag 2006 with the Gripen A,’ says Stefan Englund , former Swedish Air Force Flight Engineer on Quora. ‘It was assigned to the red team. Reduced AWACS, reduced ground support. The Gripens connected their link systems and acted themselves as AWACs, got the battlefield awareness necessary and avoided all ground defences, scored 10 kills the first day including a Typhoon. No losses. They remained undetected. One Gripen pilot knocked down five F-16 block 50+ during close air combat in Red Flag Alaska. And the Gripens never lost any aerial encounter or failed their mission objectives. It was the only fighter that performed all planed starts, while others were sitting on the ground waiting for the weather to clear up. The evaluation was that Gripen capacity needed to be revaluated.      (TheAviationgeekclub)

From Thailand – Unprecedented results of an extraordinary development

A lecture was given at China’s Northwestern Polytechnical University on Dec. 9. The speaker was reported to be Li Zhonghua who is said to have participated in Exercise Falcon Strike 2015 in Thailand (Alert5.com)

In large scale air battles, the Thais were able to score kills while playing the attacker by taking down the Chinese defenders. When the Chinese attack, they had difficulty making it pass the Thai defenders. The only success for the Chinese during attacking was when they were protected by the Gripen that was a low-level attack.

In 2 vs 2 scenarios, the Chinese found that they are poor in judging the threat and the evasive actions were insufficient. The fire control and weapons integration for the J-11 is still behind the Saab Gripen.

From Libya: Very reliable and extremely fast maintenance/ high combat availability

In an interview from (HUSH-KIT) with Lieutenant Mikael Grev who flew the Saab JAS-39 Gripen fighter in the Swedish air force

In operation Unified Protector (Libya) for instance, we had fewer aircrafts and definitely fewer maintenance crew in our detachment than most (all?) other nations, and still managed to get a lot of flying time. I can’t remember a single mission being cancelled because of aircraft failure, and this was the first mission abroad for Sweden in 50 years and performing in a new environment (much hotter). A full turn-around can be as fast as seven minutes if memory serves me, but a more normal time in day-to-day squadron ops is about 30 minutes with one maintenance crew for each aircraft. That is quite unique I think.”

From UK: Deadly electronic warfare (EW) capabilities

In an interview from (HUSH-KIT) with Justin Bronk from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)

In the few cases where the Gripen has ‘come to play’ with its full electronic warfare capabilities, it has given Typhoons very nasty shocks. Against the Su-35S, Gripen would rely on the cutting edge EW capabilities which Saab builds for the Gripen (especially the new E/F variants) around to hide the aircraft from the sensors of the Russian jets in much the same way as the Raptor relies on x-band stealth. These EW capabilities are so highly classified that there is simply no way to assess their effectiveness in the public domain. Having said that, RAF pilots who I have talked to with experience of the Saab fighter’s EW teeth first hand say that the ability of the aircraft to get alarmingly close without detection thanks entirely to EW is very impressive.

From South Africa – Air superiority guaranteed

In a video interview from WebInfoMil with Colonel Pilot Musa Mobhukota of the Southern African Air Force, he spoke with a lot of confidence about facing The Sukhoi 30, where he guarantees the result because of data links and situational awareness (SA) in 1 vs 1 and 2 vs 2 air combat situations

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