Military Aviation

Saab Test-Flies First Series-Production Gripen E (With Cool Retro Splinter Camo) for Sweden

On Dec. 3, 2019 Saab announced that the company has flown the first series-production Gripen E (code 6002) aircraft for Sweden.

On Dec. 3, 2019 Saab announced that the company has flown the first series-production Gripen E (code 6002) aircraft for Sweden.

An image of aircraft 6002 flying in a new splinter tri-tone grey camouflage pattern reminiscent of the Swedish Air Force’s (SwAF’s) green and brown scheme from the Cold War worn by the iconic Saab Viggen was released by the company.

According to Jane’s, while 6002 was shown with SwAF roundels, a Saab representative was unable to say if it is the first aircraft that will be delivered to the service. This aircraft in fact might go to the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) for testing, and might remain with the organisation rather than being subsequently handed over to the SwAF. Three flying Gripen E prototypes (aircraft 39-8, 39-9 and 39-10) are also own by Saab, but it is unclear if some or all of these will remain with the company or if they will be refurbished and delivered to the SwAF/FMV ahead of 6002.

The first of 60 Gripen Es is due to be delivered to Sweden before the end of the year, with deliveries running through to 2026. An initial batch of 28 Gripen Es and eight twin-seat Gripen Fs has been ordered by Brazil currently the only international customer of the aircraft. The combat planes will be delivered between 2021 and 2024. Both countries have left open the option for further procurements.

In terms of the wider production programme, manufacture of the first serial-standard aircraft began at Linköping in January. While similar concurrent testing and production has caused problems for other programmes, Eddy De La Motte, vice-president and head of Gripen E/F, said in June that he was not concerned that the Gripen E/F effort would encounter the same issues. “We have de-risked that element of the programme,” he said. The line at Linköping is geared to turn out 24 aircraft per year.

Developed to counter and defeat advanced future threats, the Gripen E-series is for customers with more pronounced threats or wider territories to secure. The E-series has a new and more powerful engine, improved range performance and the ability to carry greater payloads. It also has a new AESA-radar, InfraRed Search and Track system, highly advanced electronic warfare and communication systems together with superior situational awareness. The E-series redefines air power for the 21st century by extending operational capabilities.

Photo credit: Saab

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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