JAS 39 Gripen: The Best Fighter Jet No One Seems to Buy(video)


Sweden planned for the Saab’s JAS 39 Gripen fighter jet to be a big hit overseas. This airplane has not completely lived up to its expectations in the export market. The airplane has had mixed success in foreign sales this year. Brazil is a customer, but Canada is not – as the Canadians chose the F-35 over the JAS 39 Gripen in a competition. The Gripen is a fourth-generation fighter that has become the quality choice for second-tier air forces around the world, but Saab wants the Gripen to be picked more by top-tier countries.

Gripen Has a Dark Side in Past Acquisitions

One of the reasons for sluggish sales could be that the Saab Gripen has been involved with various bribery and corruption allegations during sales transactions to South Africa and Brazil. While these accusations happened years ago and some situations involved the suppliers and not Saab itself, it does cast something of a shadow over international sales.

Brazil Is Enamored with Gripens

Brazil is still a Gripen customer despite the scandal involving the administration of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. This spring Brazil ordered four additional Gripens in addition to the 36 it bought in 2014 with a $4.7 billion agreement. The Brazilians may even order 30 more Gripens in the future. The batch of four may cost Brazil $60 million each. If they order the additional 30 fighters, the price could go up to at least $1.8 billion to make for one of the most expensive arms deals in South American history.

Loss to F-35 in Canada Hurt

Brazil’s continued purchase is good for Saab, but the real prize would have been a sale to Canada to replace its CF-18s. The Gripen was a finalist in a fighter competition against the F-35, but the Lockheed Martin Lightning II was the eventual victor, handing Saab a defeat in a potential deal with a major NATO partner. Canada may eventually buy as many as 88 F-35s if a final agreement can be reached.

JAS 39: It Still Has Strong Specs

The Gripen comes in the ‘C’ and ‘E’ series, and both need upgrades to make the aircraft relevant over the next decade. The E model is bigger than the C and it holds more fuel. The E also has a bigger General Electric engine. The Gripen C can carry four Meteor air-to-air missiles, while the Gripen E can carry seven. Currently, the Gripen C can reach a speed of MACH 2 with a Volvo turbofan engine. Its ceiling is 50,000 feet and it has a range of 2,000 miles. The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Thailand operate the multi-role fighter. Again, these are not usually considered top-tier air forces.

Price Should Be Right

What can the Gripen do to improve its overseas sales? The lack of full stealth capability makes it difficult to compete with the F-35. For a fourth-generation-plus airplane, a price of around $60 million should not be the issue. The price point is affordable for smaller air forces around the globe. Plus, Sweden and Saab allow for a degree of technology transfer and the ability for countries that purchase it to make some of the Gripen parts indigenously.

Gripen Has Not Seen Combat

One major problem is that the Gripen is not combat-proven like the F-16. The F-16 is also affordable and has a sterling record in conflicts such as Operation Desert Storm and over Afghanistan and Iraq after 9/11. This means that countries that do not live in dangerous neighborhoods such as Brazil can order the Gripen and not worry about its lack of a combat record, but larger air forces that must be concerned with Russia or China may opt for the F-16 instead.

The Gripen is a quality choice despite the corruption accusations and lack of war experience. It is affordable and high-performing. Losing the contract in Canada to the F-35 stung and its lack of full stealth characteristics make it a cut below the Lightning II. The Gripen can still compete in the export market – it just may not be the first choice for air forces that face major threats.

Related Posts

US Air Force personnel completely disassembled the B-52 bomber in a massive hangar.

In a jaw-dropping display of teamwork and precision, a group of US Airmen recently undertook the monumental task of completely stripping down a massive 100-ton B-52 bomber…

See the Top Ten Speed Demons: Titans in the Air

The AH-64 Apache, Mil Mi-26 (Halo), Mil Mi-28, Ka-52 Alligator, NH90, AW139, AW101 Merlin, Mi-35M, CH-47F Chinook, Eurocopter X3. H𝚎lic𝚘𝚙t𝚎𝚛s st𝚊n𝚍 𝚊s th𝚎 𝚙inn𝚊cl𝚎 𝚘𝚏 𝚎𝚏𝚏ici𝚎nc𝚢 in…

The COMMANDO Family of Vehicles from Textron Systems.

The Commando Family of Vehicles is a range of tactical wheeled vehicles developed by Textron Systems, designed for military and security applications. These vehicles are known for…

Armoured Combat: The Development of the Leopard 2A4

The Leopard 2A4 Evolution represents a significant advancement in armored warfare, building upon the already formidable Leopard 2A4 main battle tank. Developed by the German company Krauss-Maffei…

Wheeled armored vehicles versus tracked vehicles for navigating deep snow and swamps?

Wheeled armored vehicles that oυtraпk their coυпterparts, sυch as armored persoппel carriers, have loпg stirred coпtroversy withiп the realm of combat vehicles. Detractors ofteп poiпt oυt their…

The fastest airplane in the sky, the North American X-15, can exceed 4,000 mph.

The North American X-15 has a ᴜпіqᴜe ɩeɡасу in aviation and space exploration, рᴜѕһіпɡ the boundaries of human fɩіɡһt and setting enduring records. This article explores the…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *