Combined with its lightweight, low radar signature and the ability to penetrate enemy air defenses, the Gripen is considered a formidable aircraft.
The multi-role Swedish combat aircraft comes with a delta-canard configuration and boasts of a digital fly-by-wire control system. Its powerful search and tracking radar allows for “look-down/shoot-down” capability and has a “track-while-scan” feature available for the pilot to assess multiple targets in real-time.
What stands apart in Gripen NG is its data link, which is rated as the world’s most advanced. Data links are key to modern air combat and a lot depends on them.
The new integrated Electronic Warfare System (EWS) makes Saab a beast, and it features a 360-degree spherical Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS). The level of situational awareness available to a pilot of the Gripen jet is simply unprecedented and gives them a decisive edge.
Another significant feature of the Gripen NG is the diversity of the range of weaponry it can carry – not to mention the advanced Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) which comes with a range of about 150 kilometers. Even Rafale is equipped with Meteor missiles.
The Gripen E variant has the capacity to carry up to seven MBDA Meteor missiles, and the aircraft boasts of the Leonardo ES-05 Raven Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, along with Leonardo Skyward G infrared search and track (IRST) sensor.
Gripen vs Rafale Jets
According to leading aviation experts, the SAAB Gripen has been the cheapest contemporary fighter to operate. At $4.68 billion, SAAB signed a deal with Brazil in 2015 for the sale and local manufacturing of 36 Gripen, which is half of what India paid for the same number of Rafales from France.