$50 – 60 million
one or two
46 ft/ 3 in.
27 ft. 6 in.
The Saab JAS-39 is Sweden’s most advanced jet fighter aircraft. The light weight, multi-role aircraft called Gripen employs a combination of a delta wings and canards which give the fighter excellent slow speed performance and superb high speed maneuverability.
Although the SAAB JAS-39 is far more capable and costs less than earlier generation aircraft models, its operating costs are lower. In Swedish JAS stands for Jakt (fighter), Attack (attack), and Spaning (reconnaissance). The aircraft was developed to fulfill all three roles in a single airplane.
The SAAB JAS-39 compares favorable with the most advanced and capable fighter aircraft in the world. Initial cost of the aircraft is approximately 30% less than the most modern U.S. aircraft, while lifetime operating costs are also substantially lower.
Unlike earlier aircraft models, the SAAB JAS-39 does not use thrust reversing for braking on landings. Instead the canards rotate nearly 90 degrees.
The SAAB JAS-39 has an on board APU and the ability to operate from short, unimproved landing strips and roads. It needs just 2,625 feet to operate.
Designed to replace Sweden’s aging fighter jets, the JAS-39 first flew in 1988, employing the latest advances in aerodynamics, building materials, and engine technology. Its designers created an integration of pilot and aircraft which was not previously seen in aviation. The pilot receives information through an air-to-air Tactical Information Data Link System that allows real time information data exchange between tactical air groups. In that way, situational awareness is maximized, enabling pilots to use their weapons systems to their best effect.
Cockpit ergonomics allow the pilot the maximum amount of time for tactical operation of the SAAB JAS-39. The pilot uses three large multi-color flat screen displays and a head-up display as his primary flight instruments. Brightness of the displays is automatically controlled depending on lighting conditions.
The SAAB JAS-39 is powered by a single Swedish license built GE turbofan engine that can produce large amounts of power from ground level to its maximum altitude. About twenty percent of the aircraft’s airframe is comprised of carbon fibre composites, for light weight and strength.
The aircraft’s advanced aerodynamic configuration employs a delta wing and canard fore-planes for short field operations. They provide the JAS-39 with excellent maneuverability at all altitudes, even with a heavy ordnance load. Optimizing the maneuverability is a fly by wire control system. Although not considered a stealth aircraft, the SAAB JAS-39 presents low radar and infra-red signatures.
The SAAB JAS-39 uses a long range Ericsson PS-05/A, a multi mode pulse Doppler radar. It can track multiple targets simultaneously and provide instant assessment information to the pilot. The system is equally adaptable to ground attack as it is air-to-air combat. The pilot can change the aircraft’s mission while in flight, by the push of a button.
Component reliability and ease of access of maintenance were addressed by SAAB when designing the JAS-39. The ability to quickly replace components, and built in test equipment, means that the aircraft will spend more time flying and less being maintained.
The air forces of Sweden, Czechslovakia and Hungry are all major users of the SAAB JAS-39.
On the drawing board for future aircraft versions is a more powerful engine, the ability to carry additional ordnance, plus enhanced radar, avionics, and electric warfare systems.
To date some 250 SAAB JAS-39 aircraft of all types have been produced.