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Saab JAS 39 Gripen to Get New Air-to-Air Missile Launch System

There are not all that many fighter aircraft currently being made over in Europe, and that means the existing ones, machines like the Eurofighter Typhoon or the Saab JAS 39 Gripen, have to constantly be kept up to date to remain relevant both in the face of emerging threats, and the competition coming from companies in the United States.
Saab JAS 39 Gripen 10 photos
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As one of the most popular European fighter jets (deployed by the militaries of some three dozen nations), the Swedish Gripen is also about as old as many of its competitors. Born in the late 1980s, the Gripen is presently offered by its maker in two modern variants, C- and E-Series. But modern does not necessarily mean state of the art, and upgrades must constantly be made.

Earlier in April, we learned of the Gripen entering an upgrade process that would see these variants stay in service at least until 2035. As part of the same effort, Saab announced this week it is working on a new launch system for the plane’s air-to-air missiles and countermeasure pods, as a result of a SEK 400 million ($40.6 million) contract awarded by the Swedish government.

The launcher is a piece of hardware that attaches to the airplane’s weapon pylons and is connected to both the airplane itself and the missiles it is supposed to deploy once ordered to.

The new one, whose expected rollout date was not announced, will be suitable for both the C- and E-Series Gripens and will be compatible will all types of missiles the aircraft uses. That means anything from the AIM-9 Sidewinder to the AIM-120 AMRAAM.

The Gripen is a Mach 2 delta wing and canard fighter jet powered by a Volvo turbofan engine with afterburner. It has a range of up to 3,200 km (2,000 miles), and can fly at an altitude of 15,240 meters (50,000 feet).

press release

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