Gripen C and D- Reliable and proven in several air forces

Using the latest technology, Gripen C/D is capable of performing an extensive range of air-to-air, air-to-surface and reconnaissance missions employing the latest weapons. Gripen C/D 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.

Photo © SAAB

Multi-role capabilities
Gripen C/D is a true multi-role fighter, designed as such from the very beginning. This means it can perform missions in all the three roles: air-to-air, air-to-surface and reconnaissance. Gripen C/D can seamlessly change between roles within a single sortie if needed. It means Gripen C/D can perform a wide range of missions, from air policing and tactical air reconnaissance to offensive and defensive counter strikes.

Agility and manoeuvrability
Gripen has outstanding agility and high instantaneous turn rates, giving unrivalled performance in close combat situations. The aircraft's canard and delta wing configuration provide agile flight characteristics for both evasive manoeuvres and close engagement.

A full authority digital 'Fly-By-Wire' flight control system enables carefree handling throughout all areas of the flight envelope. The pilot can concentrate on the mission at hand and be fully confident that the aircraft will always respond with maximum efficiency, performance and safety.

Photo © SAAB

Weapon system integration
Gripen C is designed to host a formidable arsenal of weaponry. A fully flexible mission capability offers multiple role requirements without changes to software or hardware. Combined air-to-air and air-to-surface stores carriage gives Gripen C/D a true swingrole capability. Offensive and defensive operations, including reconnaissance, can be conducted in a single mission.

The Gripen C is equipped with a 27 mm Mauser BK27 gun. This can be used in air-to-surface attacks against land and sea targets and is suitable for air policing missions. Gripen C/D is one of the easiest aircraft of its kind to add new weapons to. This makes it a favourite among weapons companies as they can quickly and easily use Gripen for development.

Photo © Willie Bodenstein

Designed to ensure outstanding combat agility
Gripen C/D is the first of the new generation, multi-role fighter aircraft to enter operational service.

Information support
To achieve information superiority, pilots need to be able to identify enemy assets and share intelligence with wingmen, and to have this intelligence presented in a clear way. They must also prevent the enemy from acquiring the same type of information. Gripen's sensor suite identifies the enemy using a number of active and passive methods while retaining a relatively small radar and infrared signature.

Photo © SAAB

Displayed information
Having a large amount of information in the aircraft computers is of limited use if it is not displayed to the pilot in a clear and understandable way. Each sensor can detect and track targets under various conditions and with different levels of accuracy, making the Gripen Sensor Fusion feature crucial for determining the best target position. By doing so, information superiority is turned into superior situational awareness. In a Gripen C, a great deal of effort is focused on presenting the situation clearly and understandably, thereby striving to provide the Gripen pilot with superior situational awareness and decision support.

Photo © Willie Bodenstein

Sharing information
A Gripen pilot has full automatic, continuous and secure communication access to information from other Gripen fighters and military forces. Tactical information regarding targets and threats, as well as position, fuel and weapon status, is shared with other Gripen fighters in the same Tactical Air Unit via customer-tailored data links:

Link 16 as used within NATO
Links with AEW&C and C2 centres on ground or at sea
Links with Forward Air Controller.

Gripen C cockpit
The Gripen cockpit is dominated by three large, full colour, Multi-Function Displays (MFDs) and a wide angle diffractive optics Head-Up Display (HUD) with a holographic combiner.

Photo © Willie Bodenstein

Gripen C/D and NATO
Today the Czech Gripen fighters play their part in European Union Battle Group exercises and NATO's integrated air and missile defence system. For example, they have twice supplied the main force for NATO's Icelandic Air Policing taskforce. It has provided similar protection for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

With Gripen, also the Hungarian Air Force became a modern and effective NATO air force. In the past decade, the Hungarian Gripen fighters have participated in various exercises and missions. They flew their first mission in Baltic (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) airspace in the year 2015.

Photo © SAAB

Continuous development
We work in close co-operation with our customers around the world to continuously develop and improve the aircraft, instead of conducting major and costly mid-life upgrades. Using a short upgrade cycle to provide step-wise improvements ensures the fighter is always up to date and can be adapted rapidly to a changing world. Improvement costs are spread out over a long period and the customers can implement upgrades at a time that best suits them.

The MS20 capability enhancement
The Gripen Material System 20 (MS20) upgrade is part of the Gripen design philosophy to evolve continuously and tailor solutions according to customer's various needs. The MS20 capability enhancement for Gripen C-series involves both hardware and software upgrades, giving a whole series of improvements and new functionality both in terms of the aircraft itself and the ancillary support and training systems. The capability upgrade was first introduced with the Swedish Air Force in 2016. In addition to a basic package, each customer can customise their order with optional upgrades depending on their specific national requirements.

Photo © Willie Bodenstein

The most significant new feature in the system for the Swedish Air Force, is the Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile. In terms of range, the performance of Meteor has been significantly enhanced compared with previous weapons systems and it can intercept air targets at large distances.

Another major change involves new maintenance periods for servicing, and a number of updates to simplify fault diagnostics. This means that the aircraft can be out on missions longer.


Gripen C (Single Seater)
Length (excl. pitot tube): 14.1 meters
Wing span (including launchers): 8.4 meters
Maximum take-off weight: 14000 kg
Empty weight: 6800 kg
Total load capacity: 5300 kg
Internal fuel: >2000 kg
Max thrust: 80.5 kN
Combat turnaround air-to-air: 10 minutes
Hard points: 8
27 mm Mauser BK27 gun 1

Aviation Economy
SA Air Force

Copyright © 2024 Pilot's Post PTY Ltd
The information, views and opinions by the authors contributing to Pilotís Post are not necessarily those of the editor or other writers at Pilotís Post.