Gripen is designed for the high demands put on flying performance, flexibility, effectiveness, survivability and availability the future air combat environment will put. The designation JAS stands for Jakt (Fighter), Attack (Attack) and Spaning (Reconnaissance) and means every Gripen can fullfill all three mission types.

Flying properties and performance are optimised for fighter missions with high demands on speed, acceleration and turning performance. The combination of delta wing and canards gives the JAS 39 Gripen very good take off and landing performance and superb flying characteristics. The totally integrated avionics makes it a "programmable" aircraft. With the built in flexibility and development potential the whole JAS 39 Gripen system will retain and enhance its effectiveness and potential well into the 21:st century.

Gripen affords far more flexibility than earlier generations of combat aircraft, and it's operating costs will only be about two thirds of those for Viggen, in spite of it being able to in all areas perform at least as well or slightly better, and in some cases much better. This while not being an expensive aircraft to purchase either.

Navigation systems include GPS and a terrain reference system combining radar and barometric altimeters.

The specification for this aircraft says that must be able to operate from 800 m runways, so actual take off and landing distance is significantly less, and since early on in the programme, all flights from Saab's facility in Link?ping are flown from within a 9 m x 800 m outline painted on the runway.

Stopping distance is reduced by extending the relatively large airbrakes; using the control surfaces to push the aircraft down enabling the brakes to be used harder; tilting the canards forwards, making them into large airbrakes and also pushing the nose gear - which also has brakes - down.
[Gripen on road base] So even without thrust reversing, which would have made the aircraft heavier and less affordable, the stopping distance does not exceed that of Viggen.

The internal computer network
Gripen uses Ericsson processors programmed in Pascal-D80 and Ada and has five duplicated databuses, assigned to different tasks, all with several levels of backup operating modes.

The cockpit and canopy
The main instruments are three MFDs and the wide angle HUD. Control is by a short centrally mounted stick and a side mounted system hand controller/throttle. [More information]

Backup systems
Should the main generator fail, there's an APU which is also used to provide power on the ground, and batteries. [More information and details]

The escape system
Gripen is fitted with Martin-Baker 10LS seats which permits safe ejections at speeds up to 1150 km/h at sea level, at zero altitude and speed and down to 100 m altitude inverted flight. [More information and details]

Two seater
[Armed two-seater]
To begin with, the two-seat variant was said to be considered unnecessary, as simulators are very good today.

But two seater aircraft aren't useful just for teaching pilots to fly the aircraft. In Swedish use, it will not be much used for conversion training, as Gripen is considered easy to fly, but mostly for tactical training and have a significant tactical role. It will be fully combat capable, apart from having no gun and less fuel.

Basic data
Gripen is a lightweight fighter, with an empty weight of about six tons, a normal take off weight of less than nine tons and a max take off weight of in the current version less than 13 tons. It's a bit over 14 m long.

It's supersonic at all altitudes. [More information and details]

Gripen is able to carry a very wide range of armaments on its eight hardpoints. [More information]

Background and history
In 1982 decided to build a small, true multi-role aircraft, made possible by advances in several fields.

The first prototype flew 9:th Dec 1988.

[More details on what led to the decision to develop a lightweight multirole fighter]

Alternate configurations
Several layouts were studied, in the end an unstable canard layout was adopted, as it would give the greatest benefits to performance, as it gives a high onset of pitch rate and low drag enabling the aircraft to be faster, have longer range and carry a larger useful payload. [More information and illustrations]

Gripen is made by the consortium IG JAS, which consists of Saab Military Aircraft, BAE Systems, Saab-BAe Gripen AB, Ericsson Saab Avionics, Ericsson Microwave Systems, Celsius Aerotech and Volvo Aero Corporation.

It is adapted for, marketed and supported on the international marked of the joint company Saab-BAe Gripen AB.

Apart from the above companies, the international content of Gripen is high, with 60% coming from NATO countries and 70% from EU nations, so close to 30% of the content is from USA. [More information and details]

The name
"Gripen" means "the Griffin" in English, which is a mythical and heraldic animal with the head of an eagle and the body of a lion. See the Merriam-Webster and Encyclop?dia Britannica for definitions and Google image search if you want to see how it looks.

JAS-39 Cutaway View

J-20 J-15 J-10 J-10B J-31 J-11 J-11B Su-27 fighter china WZ-10 Xianglong UAV
J-20 J-15 J-10B J-31 J-11 WZ-10 Xianglong UAV

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