Sweden Flygvapnet JAS39 396003 16Jul23 Oscar Vis 1150 640Sweden wants to accelarate delivery of Gripen NG aircraft

The Swedish Ministry of Defence (MoD) does want to accelarate the delivery of the JAS39E Gripen fighter aircraft to the Flygvapnet (Swedish Air Force).

According to the Försvarets materielverk (FMV, Swedish Defence Material Administration) the JAS39E will be put into operation under FMV's auspices in the fall of 2023, which will increase flight testing capacity and lay the foundation for the Flygvapnets' introduction of the fighter aircraft in the second half of the 2025.

So far, only three prototypes (serials 39-8, 39-9 and 39-10) and five Limited Series Production (LSP) Gripen Next Generation (NG) have been built. The LSPs are on the same productionline as the ones destined for Brazil. The Swedish LSPs are 396002, 396003, 396004, 396011 and 396012. The first LSP Gripen E arrived with the FMV at Linköping/Malmen in November 2020.

The contract to acquire the Saab JAS39E Gripen dates back to 2013. On 17 January 2013, the Swedish government decided to purchase sixty Gripen Es. In July 2013, assembly began on the first pre-production Gripen E. Originally sixty JAS39Cs were to be retrofitted as JAS39Es by 2023, but this was revised to Gripen Es having new-built airframes and some reused parts from JAS39Cs. In March 2014, Saab revealed the detailed design and indicated plans to receive military type certification in 2018. The first Gripen E was rolled out on 18 May 2016.

In October 2020, Scramble Magazine first reported on the re-establishment of a fighter wing at Uppsala that was reported in the document outlining the defence bill for the period 2021-2025. The defence bill proposed that the current force structure of six combat aircraft squadrons will be maintained through the 2021-25 period. Four squadrons (divisioner) will convert to the Saab JAS39E Gripen, while two squadrons will retain the JAS39C/D Gripen. The new fighter wing should become fully operational in 2025. Although formally the type of fighter aircraft for F16 Upplands Flygflottilj has not been determined yet, this is most probably the JAS39C/D Gripen.

Rumours are roaming around that Sweden is considering to donate one squadron of JAS39C/D Gripens to Ukraine. Looking at the timelines above, the use of JAS39C parts to incorporate in new-built JAS39Es and the re-establishment of a fighter wing at Uppsala, Scramble Magazine assesses it will become hard for the Swedish Defence Industry to comply with all these changes.

Credit photo: Oscar Vis (Scramble Archive)

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