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Sweden maps out Gripen E entry into service

Seen during its roll-out in 2016, the Gripen will initially be assigned to Skaraborg Wing (F7), located at Satenas in the southwest of Sweden. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Sweden has mapped out initial plans for the Saab Gripen E entry into service, identifying the type's first operating station.

With deliveries of the first of 60 Gripen Es set to begin in 2022, Saab announced on 1 October that the Swedish Air Force (SwAF) has decided the first aircraft will be assigned to Skaraborg Wing (F7), located at Satenas in the southwest of Sweden.

F7 is one of three SwAF fighter wings, with the other two being Blekinge Wing (F17) at Ronneby, in the far south of Sweden, and Norrbotten Wing (F21), also in the south of the country. A fourth wing, Uppsala Wing (F16), also located in southern Sweden, will be stood up from 2022. Each wing is equipped with two squadrons, which are 71 and 72 for F7.

The SwAF fields 73 single-seat Gripen A and 24 twin-seat Gripen D aircraft. Earlier in 2021 the Swedish government firmed up the numbers of older Gripens it intends to retain to operate alongside the new Gripen Es. In January, Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said that the SwAF will field a total of 100 Gripen aircraft “in two variants”.

According to Hultqvist's comments, the service will now retain 40 Gripen C/Ds, although he has yet to break this figure down into the number of single-seat Cs and twin-seat Ds. The total Gripen force will be divided between four Gripen E squadrons and two Gripen C/D squadrons.

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