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Swedes Confirm Gripen For Air Tattoo

Published: 15 Mar 2016   updated: 01 Apr 2016

The Air Tattoo's flying display has been further strengthened following confirmation from the Swedish Air Force that it will be sending a Saab JAS 39C Gripen fighter to RAF Fairford this summer.

An attractive, single-engined, multi-role fighter, the Saab JAS 39 Gripen has proved popular on the export market, offering a strong range of air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities at lower cost than other competing contemporary fighters. 

Gripens are flown by the air arms of the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa and Thailand as well as the aircraft's home nation. The Swedish Air Force remains the largest JAS 39 operator, even though its fleet has been slimmed down somewhat as a result of defence cuts. 

Now, along with Brazil, it is looking forward to the 'next-generation' Gripen NG, a significantly enhanced and more powerful variant with greater weapons capacity and longer range among other improvements. Currently, the Swedish Air Force flies the single-seat JAS 39C and two-seat JAS 39D models.

The Gripen is a relatively small, lightweight machine by modern standards, but a rugged, effective and highly agile one. Its take-off and landing performance allow operation from shorter runways than many rivals, this a consequence of the demanding original requirements from Sweden. Like many present-day fighters, it is intended to be a swing-role type, able to switch between different missions during the same sortie.

It is expected that the Swedish JAS 39C Gripen displayed at RIAT 2016 will come from F 7 wing at Såtenäs, a unit that carries out all pilot training on the type.

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