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.
The internal computer network
The cockpit and canopy
The escape system
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.
It's supersonic at all altitudes. [More information and details]
Background and history
The first prototype flew 9:th Dec 1988.
[More details on what led to the decision to develop a lightweight multirole fighter]
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]