The Gripen E – the latest variant of the Swedish Saab JAS 39 fighter jet – just became a reality, as the manufacturer delivered the first serially-produced jets of the type.
Of the batch of six, four aircraft were presented to the Brazilian Air Force, and two to the Swedish Air Force, in a ceremony which was held at Saab airfield on November 24, 2021.
Brazil’s Gripens – referred to as F-39Es – are going to be shipped in the coming days, along with two flight simulators for the aircraft.
The Brazilian Air Force already has five pre-production F-39Es that were delivered for flight tests in 2020. In total, Brazil has ordered 39 Gripens of the new generation, eight of which are going to be F-39F two-seat versions.
Brazil’s two-seaters are set to be delivered in 2023, while its entire fleet of Gripens is planned to be delivered by 2024.
Meanwhile, Swedish Air Force should receive 60 JAS 39 Es and Fs by 2027, replacing the current fleet of JAS 39 C/Ds delivered between 2002 and 2008.
The development of the Saab JAS 39 E Gripen fighter jet started in 2011. In comparison with the older C model, the aircraft sports new, more powerful General Electric RM16 engine, a new radar system, avionics and weapon systems, as well as over-all improved performance.
So far, Sweden and Brazil are the only countries that have ordered the new aircraft, although several other countries – including Canada and Finland – have expressed their interest in the jet.
The JAS 39s of C and D models are operated by numerous countries, including Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa and Thailand.