Saab is pitching a dedicated ‘Aggressor’ variant of its Gripen C fighter aircraft for the upcoming UK and US pilot training requirements.
Speaking at the DSEI exhibition in London where the new variant of the multirole fighter was unveiled, the head of Gripen sales and marketing, Richard Smith, said that the Gripen Aggressor has been tailored for pilot training role, and that the UK Air Support to Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) and the US Adversarial Air (AdAir) requirements.
“There are two countries where we see market potential for the Gripen Aggressor; namely in the UK for ASDOT and in the US for AdAir. We have a product that matches the requirements, and we have the business case to make it work,” Smith said.
The Gripen Aggressor is essentially a newbuild Gripen C that has had its offensive weapons capability (including the internal cannon) removed. While it is currently modelled on the single-seat Gripen C, Smith noted that a twin-seat Gripen D version could be offered if a customer requested it.
As Smith noted, “The Gripen Aggressor is a new member of the Gripen family that comprises the Gripen E series [made up of the E, F, and M models] and the Gripen C series [that also includes the D model]. There is potential in the air combat training sector [for this aircraft] as the current legacy aircraft [being used for air combat training] do not match up to the technologies of modern fighter aircraft.” As Smith noted, the technologies lacking include supersonic flight; low observability; beyond-visual-range capabilities; sensor fusion; active electronically scanned array radars; as well as electronic warfare and datalinks. This technology gap leads to “negative training”, as Smith put it, and it is this disparity that Saab hopes to negate with the Gripen Aggressor.
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