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Saab contracted to upgrade Gripen C/D

With 60 Gripen C/Ds to remain in service through to 2035, Sweden is upgrading the aircraft to keep it at the forefront of operational capabilities. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) has contracted Saab to upgrade the Gripen C/D combat aircraft out to 2029.

The SEK3.4 billion (USD326 million) award announced on 16 December covers a raft of capability upgrades under the MS20 enhancement package, as well as options to enable the FMV to place additional upgrade orders during 2023.

โ€œThe enhancements will provide Sweden with a more effective and powerful fighter capability. The aircraft will be equipped with a new version of the engine, which will enhance flight performance. A more effective electronic warfare (EW) system will also be introduced, and the upgrade will create conditions for increased attack capability with a new payload,โ€ Saab said.

Further to improvements to the General Electric/Volvo Flygmotor RM12 (F404-GE-400) turbofan and integration of the Arexis EW suite, the order includes an upgrade to the Saab PS-05/A radar for an extended detection and tracking range. It also includes an upgraded avionics system, which enables fast software updates of the sensor function.

โ€œThis upgrade will provide the Swedish Air Force with a significantly stronger fighter capability. The contract is a big leap ahead in terms of radar performance and functionality, both for the hardware and software, and will future-proof the operational capability of Gripen C/D,โ€ Jonas Hjelm, head of Saab's business area Aeronautics said.

As noted by Saab, the capability enhancements will enable better interoperability between Gripen C/D and Gripen E, which is shortly to enter into front-line service with the Swedish Air Force.

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