Sweden has firmed up the numbers of Gripen combat aircraft it plans to field over the coming years, at the same time as disclosing its intent to field a new unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) and to recapitalise its airborne early warning and control (AEW) fleet.
The SwAF is expected to retain 40 Gripen C/D fighters (pictured) to augment the 60 new Gripen Es for a combined fleet of 100 jets.
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist laid out his government’s plans in a speech delivered on 12 January at the National Conference of the People and Defence 2021.
“The air force is strengthened by the fact that we will now operate a total of 100 JAS Gripens in two versions, instead of what was originally intended 60. The long-range combat capability against ground targets that will be added gives us the opportunity to reach enemy territory with considerable range. It is a real strengthening of Swedish operational capability, which is also an important security policy signal,” he said.
The Swedish Air Force (SwAF) currently fields approximately 100 Gripen C/D aircraft, which it originally intended to replace with 60 Gripen Es. However, it was recently disclosed that an unspecified number of Gripen C/Ds would be retained through to 2035 to help boost overall numbers.
According to Hultqvist’s comments, the service will now retain 40 Gripen C/Ds, though 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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