Sweden donates Gripen fighters to Ukraine, but not until 2027

KYIV ($1=29.54 Ukrainian Hryvnias) — In 2027, the Czech Republic will cease operating the JAS 39C Gripen fighters and intends to arm its air force with the F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighter [at least such are the Czech intentions]. In this regard, Stockholm [Sweden] could agree to Prague [Czech Republic] providing 14 JAS 39 Gripen fighters to Kyiv [Ukraine] free of charge [12 units of the single-seat JAS 39C and two units of the two-seat JAS 39D].

Sweden improving JAS 39 Gripen C/D's capabilities with a new update
Photo credit: Wikipedia

At the moment, one fact is clear: the Czech Republic wants to renew its fleet and intends to make an inquiry to the US government for the acquisition of 24 units of F-35A stealth fighters. However, Ukrainian media [Defense Express] claims that if the acquisition becomes a fact, then Stockholm is ready to allow Prague to donate 14 Gripen fighters to Ukraine. According to the Ukrainian media, this can only become a fact in 2027 [and after this year], because then the lease of the Czech Gripen fighters to SAAB [the aircraft manufacturer] expires.

Of course, the Swedes have offered the Czechs to upgrade the existing JAS 39C Gripen fighters of the Czech Air Force to the “E/F” version. If Prague accepts Stockholm’s proposal, Kyiv is out of the equation.

After the Russian armed forces invaded Ukraine on February 24 and started the war in Europe between Ukraine and Russia, Kyiv is in dire need of fighter jets. BulgarianMilitary.com cannot say how many Ukrainian planes are downed or inoperable, as this information is highly speculative, based on propaganda coming from Russia and Ukraine. But by early February [before the war began], Ukraine had 51 MiG-29 fighters, 12 Su-24 fighters, 31 Su-25 fighters, and 32 Su-27 fighters.

Bulgaria Govt, Opposition Clash over Fighter Jets
© A Saab Gripen fighter jet. Photo: saab.com

In recent years [before the war] Ukraine even retired some of its “air wings” including the MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-25, MiG-27, Sukhoi Su-17, and Sukhoi Su-15.

The acquisition of 14 JAS 39C Gripen fighters will not seriously strengthen the Ukrainian Air Force, but it will be a foundation laid for the renewal of Ukrainian armaments [if the war is over by then]. Although, the fighters in question are actually Czech [in service with the Czech Air Force] and if the donation is realized, Sweden will actually do it, because SAAB holds the production and trade license and without Stockholm’s consent the fighters cannot be used by anyone else, except the Czech Air Force.

Arms dealers interviewed by BulgarianMilitary.com say that 2027 is a very distant period. If the Czechs and Swedes agree to this donation now, it is not known exactly what their intentions will be in five years, nor is it known exactly what will happen to the fighters during the remaining operational period.


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