Saab 39 Gripen
From Scramble - The Aviation Magazine
|First Flight||December 9, 1988|
|Number built||(still in production)|
|Length JAS39A||14.10 m||46 ft 3 in|
|Length JAS39B||14.75 m||48 ft 5 in|
|Wingspan||8.40 m||27 ft 6 in|
|Height||4.50 m||14 ft 9 in|
|Empty||6622 kg||14600 lb|
|Loaded||8500 kg||18740 lb|
|Maximum takeoff weight||14000 kg||30864 lb|
|Engine||one Volvo Flygmotor RM12 turbofan|
|Thrust||54 kN||12140 lbf|
|Thrust AB||80.5kN||18100 lbf|
|Maximum speed||? km/h||? mph|
|Operational range||800 km||497 miles|
Funded definition and development of the aircraft began in June 1980, with initial proposals submitted 3 June 1981. The Swedish government approved the program 6 May 1982. The initial FMV development contract was awarded 30 June 1982 for five prototypes and 30 production aircraft, with options for next 110. The overall go-ahead was confirmed in the second quarter of 1983. A study for the two-seat JAS 39B was authorised July 1989.
First of five single-seat prototypes (39-1) rolled out 26 April 1987 and made its first flight 9 December 1988 but was lost in a landing accident after a fly-by-wire problem on 2 February 1989, with only six sorties flown. Subsequent first flights 4 May 1990 (39-2), 20 December 1990 (39-4), 25 March 1991 (39-3) and 23 October 1991 (39-5). The 2,000th Gripen sortie was flown by 39-4 on 22 December 1995. The modified Viggen 37-51 used in the development of the Gripen retired at the end of 1991 after assisting with avionics trials (nearly 250 flights). The program used two single-seat fatigue test airframes (39-51, which was discarded in 1993 and 39-52, which began a 16,000 hour programme in August 1993 and had achieved 8,000 hours in early 1996). A second production batch (Lot 2: 110 aircraft) was approved 3 June 1992. The first production Gripen (39101) made it’s first flight 10 September 1992 and joined test programme in lieu of the loss of 39-1. The flight test program in 1995-96, included high-AoA (at least 28º achieved) and spin trials by 39-2 and trials of an APU (for Lot 2 production) by 39-4. All development work in the original (Lot 1) contract had been completed by late 1996, the total programme was over 1,800 hours in 2,300 sorties by six aircraft. By 1996 the Gripen had demonstrated a M1.08 cruise without reheat. Follow-on trials with a mockup aerial refuelling probe conducted by 39-4 on eight sorties between 2 and 17 November 1998 from a RAF VC10 K. Mk 4.
The second production aircraft but the first for the Swedish Air Force (39102) made its first flight 4 March 1993 and was handed over to the FMV 8 June 1993. The flight control software was modified following the loss of 39102 in a crash on 8 August 1993 and was installed from December 1994. A further software upgrade to new-generation P11 standard (introducing 11 filters to prevent pilot-induced oscillations) was first flown 22 March 1995 in a trials aircraft and installed in test Gripens from late 1995, in production aircraft (known then as R11) built after early 1996 (and retrofitted from 1997 as R11:9). A modified control stick was introduced with production aircraft 39108 (first flight 11 April 1995). R12:3 flight control software was under trial by late 1999, bringing the Gripen up to it’s original design goals and was installed during following the year as R12:4. The next stage is R14, increasing the MTOW by some 1,000 kg (2,205 lb).
The JAS 39B prototype was rolled out on 29 September 1995, with it’s first flight 29 April 1996.
Initial 30 production JAS 39As were delivered between 1993 and 1996 (five in 1994, six in 1995,and the rest in 1996, with 39129 being the last, delivered on 13 December 1996). By 2002, these all had been upgraded to Lot 2 standard. Deliveries of the second lot of 110 began 19 December 1996, and were completed in 2003. The Swedish Parliament authorised a third batch of 64 on 13 December 1996 with the contract formally placed on 26 June 1997. Deliveries were scheduled between 2003 and 2007
The Gripen is being promoted in several fighter competitions. On 18 November 1998, it was announced that the aircraft had been selected for purchase by the South African Air Force and this was confirmed by contract signature on 3 December 1999. In connection with the SAAF requirement, the Gripen completed an initial series of trials with a helmet-mounted display (Thales Optronics Guardian) in February 2001.
Standard single-seater. The final aircraft was delivered 6 September 2002.
Two-seater with a 0.655 m (2 ft 1½ in) fuselage plug and a lengthened cockpit canopy. It’s primary roles are conversion and tactical training, but it also is combat-capable. An inflatable airbag protects the rear occupant during pre-ejection canopy fracturing. It has a reduced internal fuel capacity and no internal gun. The prototype entered final assembly 1 September 1994 with it’s first flight (39800) 29 April 1996. The first production two-seater (39801) completed final assembly on 29 February 1996 and flew on 22 November; production deliveries began with 39802 on 19 May 1998.
NATO-compatible version of Gripen with extended capabilities in terms of armament, electronics, etc. This variant can also be refueled in flight. Improvements include full-colour displays, FADEC, helmet-mounted sight, new (Modular Airborne Computer System) processor for PS-05/A radar, Saab Dynamics IR-OTIS IR search and tracking system, in-flight refuelling probe and enhanced EW systems. Originally planned for introduction at the start of Lot 3, but the final 19 Lot 2 aircraft (plus one testbed, 39207/39-6, first flown 29 April 2002) were completed to interim standards with refuelling probes and upgraded computers and designated JAS 39C. The first production aircraft (39208) was flown 14 August 2002 and delivered to FMV for service trials on 6 September 2002. Version 19 introduces new capabilities for Sweden’s Gripens, some of which are already in use with Gripen’s export customers. In that respect the Version 19 upgrade is an important step towards a common standard for the entire Gripen ‘family’. Gripen’s attack capabilities with modern guided munitions will be further enhanced. The current in-service precision weapons system incorporates LGB and a Litening III targeting pod. Version 19 will add a GPS-guided weapons capability plus important upgrades to the Ericsson PS-05/A radar. New higher-resolution radar modes will see it’s first introduction in Version 19 and will, when fully developed, allow a Gripen to accurately target GPS guided weapons using data from its own radar. This makes the aircraft an extremely flexible all-weather attack platform. The radar improvements, which also include a ground moving target indicator function, are the first stage in the planned SARA (SAR Anpassning, or synthetic aperture radar adaption) upgrade that will transform the Ericsson PS-05/A over the coming years. Other new combat capabilities to be introduced under Version 19 include: the Rb.98 IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missile, an improved self-protection system, with enhancements to all threat warning and countermeasures; and NVGs). Current Gripen cockpit displays and software are fully NVG-compatible, but Version 19 will see the formal introduction of the NVGs themselves. Swedish Gripens will also gain the Link 16 datalink, Mode IV IFF, Have Quick secure communications equipment and integration with the MARS reconnaissance pod. Finally, Version 19 will introduce the new ‘missionized’ two-seat Gripen, with a rear-cockpit configuration capable of operating aircraft systems independently.
Two seat version of the JAS 39C.
Designation for next generation single seat version, previously designated Gripen Next Generation by the manufacturer. Equipped with new F414 engine, increased fuel capacity, higher payload, upgraded avionics and other improvements. Ordered by Sweden and Switzerland.
Designation for dual seat JAS 39E.
One General Electric/Volvo Flygmotor RM12 (F404-GE-400) turbofan, rated initially at approximately 54 kN (12,140 lb st) dry and 80.5 kN (18,100 lb st) with afterburning. The RM12UP version, in Lot 3 aircraft, incorporates FADEC, improved flame holder and redesigned turbine.
Pilot only in the JAS 39A/C, on a Martin-Baker Mk 10L zero/zero ejection seat. Hinged canopy (opening sideways to port) and a one-piece windscreen by Lucas Aerospace. Two seats in tandem in the JAS 39B/D. The command sequence in the two-seat aircraft ejects the rear pilot first, simultaneously inflating an airbag between the two cockpits to protect the rear pilot from Perspex splinters. Hymatic environmental control system for cockpit air conditioning, pressurisation and avionics cooling.
Internally mounted 27 mm Mauser BK-27 automatic cannon in the port side of the lower front fuselage and two wingtip-mounted Rb.74 (AIM-9L) Sidewinder standard. (No internal gun in JAS 39B.) Six other external hardpoints (two under each wing, one on the centreline and one below the starboard air intake trunk) for short- and medium-range air-to-air missiles such as Rb.74, MICA, Rb.99 (AIM-120) AMRAAM or MBDA Meteor, air-to-surface missiles such as Rb.75 (Raytheon (Hughes) AGM-65 Maverick), anti-shipping missiles such as Saab RBS 15F, DWS 39 (BK 90) munitions dispenser, KEPD 150 and KEPD 350 SOMs, conventional or retarded bombs, air-to-surface rockets or external fuel tanks.