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The SAAB JAS 39 Gripen is a light-weight multi-role fighter indigenously developed by Sweden to replace the legendary Draken and Viggen with the Swedish Air Force. The Gripen is powered by the Volvo RM12 turbofan which is a licence-built version of the General Electric F404, the same engine that powers the original versions of the F-18 Hornet. In 2008 a technology demonstrator first flew known as the "Gripen Demo" fitted with a new Raven AESA radar and powered by the General Electric F414 engine from the Super Hornet. This demonstrator proved the concept of a more advanced version of the Gripen known as the Gripen NG which would later be referred to as the Gripen E.
The JAS-39E differs from the earlier JAS-39A and C by utilising the F414 engine and the advanced Raven AESA radar, more advanced avionics plus a revised undercarriage and fuselage layout creating space for additional fuel and two extra weapon hardpoints. The development of the Gripen E has been co-funded by Sweden and Brazil who have both ordered the type, with Brazil assembling the majority of their aircraft in country. The Gripen E conducted its first flight in 2017 and Brazil received their first aircraft during December 2022. Brazil have also ordered eight two-seat Gripen F variants that can be used both for training and for SEAD/Jamming activities.
SAAB are providing a pair of Gripen Es for this year's Air Tattoo marking the types RIAT debut. One aircraft will appear on static and the second will perform a flying display flown by a SAAB test pilot.
Photo Credit: SAAB