Saab and Volvo are two of the most revered names in commercial automobiles in Europe and the rest of the world. They also make badass fighter jets.
The Saab JAS 39 Gripen is a lightweight single-engine multirole fighter manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab. It is an inexpensive fourth-generation fighter jet developed in the 1980s to replace the Saab 35 Draken and 37 Viggen in the Swedish Air Force.
Europeans don’t have a massive fleet of state of the art fighter jets, as they are not in any direct conflict. Instead, they have sought out lower-cost alternatives, such as the Saab JAS 39 Gripen.
Just because it didn’t cost as much as the elite group of fighter jets, doesn’t mean it isn’t a force to be reckoned with. A number of other countries have opted to use the Gripen, including Brazil, South Africa, Czech Republic, Hungary and Thailand, according to National Interest.
Watch the jet’s taxi, takeoff, and landing at the Red Flag Exercise in Nevada, and see a Czech Gripen refuel in-flight via a KC-135 Stratotanker during a NATO military exercise.
The Gripen was named for “the legendary creature called the Griffin, which was half eagle, half lion and was meant to possess divine power,” according to War History Online.
The aircraft has a rich and lengthy history that dates back to the 1940s. However, since Sweden is very firm on remaining neutral in conflict, none of the predecessors have had any viable triumph.
The Gripen however, was still impressive, in its own way. Modern and solid, it could reach Mach 2, haul nearly 12,000 pounds of armaments, and included delta wings and a canard.
According to the Military Machine, “the Gripen can seamlessly communicate with each other or even link up with other NATO allies flying nearby and can take its cues directly from a forward air controller on the ground. It is just over 46 feet in length with a wingspan of 27 feet 7 inches, and it is 14 feet 9 inches in height. It also has a max takeoff weight of 31,000 pounds. The Saab Gripen is powered by a single Volvo RM12 after burning turbofan.”
The single-seat Gripen is armed with a 27 mm Mauser BK27 gun, which can be used in air-to-surface attacks against land and sea targets and is suitable for air policing missions. It can also carry pods and sensors for reconnaissance and special missions. The Gripen has very high weapon flexibility since most weapons can be combined with it, according to Saab.