Saab JAS-39 Gripen

The Saab JAS-39 "Gripen" is designed for the expected high demands on flying performance, flexibility, effectiveness, survivability, and availability for the future of air combat. The designation JAS stands for Jakt (Fighter), Attack (Attack), and Spaning (Reconnaissance), indicating that the Gripen is a multirole aircraft that can fulfill each mission type equally well.

Saab JAS-39 "Gripen"

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. Saab JAS-39 "Gripen" 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 21st century.

Gripen affords far more flexibility than earlier generations of combat aircraft, and its operating costs will only be about two thirds of those for Viggen. This is especially impressive as the Gripen is a more capable aircraft, with a low purchase price. 

Saab JAS-39 "Gripen"

The specifications for the Gripen required the ability to operate from 800 m runways. Early on in the programme, all flights from Saab's facility in Linköping were 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 wheel brakes to apply more force; and tilting the canards forwards, making them into large airbrakes and further pushing the aircraft down. 

In designing the aircraft, several layouts were studied. Saab ultimately selected an unstable canard layout to give the greatest benefits to performance. The canard configuration 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.


Already in operational service with the Swedish Air Force which has ordered 204 aircraft (including 28 dual-seater), the Gripen has also been ordered by the South African Air Force (28 aircraft), Hungary and the Czech Republic (14 aircraft each).

Data for JAS 39 Gripen

General characteristics

14.1 m (46 ft 3 in)
Wingspan: 8.4 m (27 ft 7 in)
Height: 4.5 m (14 ft 9 in)
Wing area: 25.54 m (274.9 ft)

Empty weight:
6,620 kg (14,600 lb)
Loaded weight: 8,720 kg (19,200 lb)
Maximum gross takeoff weight: 14,000 kg (31,000 lb)

1× Volvo Aero RM12 (GE404) afterburning turbofan, 54 kN dry, 80 kN with afterburner (12,000 lbf / 18,000 lbf)

Maximum speed: Mach 2
Range: 800 km (500 mi)
Service ceiling: 15,000 m (50,000 ft)
Thrust/weight: 0.63:1

1x 27 mm Mauser BK-27 cannon
6x AIM-9 Sidewinder
4x AIM-120 AMRAAM; or MICA
AGM-65 Maverick, KEPD 150, or various other laser-guided bombs, rocket pods.


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(This text was adapted from )(GFDL)
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