JAS 39 Gripen versus Sukhoi standoff in Ukraine is discussed

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN — Up to four Gripen aircraft Sweden can afford to give to Ukraine. This will only happen if the government of the Nordic country allows such a transfer. A similar amount is being discussed because of an inquiry sent by Ukraine. Official Stockholm confirmed the information.

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

The request is for SAAB JAS 39 Gripen fighters. The Air Force of Ukraine was designated as the final recipient. A Stockholm official confirmed that the request is being discussed. It concerns not only the available quantities in the composition of the Royal Swedish Air Force, but also their possible production. If the fighters are produced, it will take time, but will not impair Sweden’s operational capability.

Sweden has concerns about sending Gripens to Ukraine at all. They are because of a possible threat to the security of the Scandinavian country. The threat is two-way. On the one hand, Moscow could launch a military response following such a transfer. The other possibility is the eventual capture or destruction of the Gripen. This would give Russia access to the Swedish technology used in the development and production of the fighter.

The Swedish Ministry of Defense issued an official statement regarding the Ukrainian request. According to him, Stockholm fully understands the request of the Ukrainian President Mr. Volodymyr Zelensky. However, the ministry recalls that Sweden will face restrictions if it sends the Gripen to Ukraine. These restrictions affect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the kingdom, the press release added.

Give Ukraine a Gripen, the F-16 can't give what the Swede can
Photo credit: RSAF

In a series of several articles, BulgarianMilitary.com tried to show Ukraine’s need for the Gripen. What the Swedish fighter has as an advantage makes it the best possible option for Ukraine. Neither the F-16 nor the Eurofighter Typhoon nor the French Rafale can meet the demands of war at present.

The Gripen is a fighter capable of countering and reducing Russian air superiority currently over Ukraine. Four Gripens won’t change the situation, but they will make the Russian Sukhoi and Mikgoyan in the air much more cautious.

Gripen’s ability to take off from short runways is key for Ukraine. Kyiv will be able to deploy them even in agricultural airfields, which will make it difficult for Russian intelligence. Gripen can be hidden in a forest and taken off from the highway. This also gives Ukraine an advantage. Kyiv will be able to quickly move them to different places, confusing the opponent.

The fact that the Swedish fighter is serviced quickly and easily directly on the battlefield is not to be underestimated. This eliminated the need for a dedicated depot, thus giving the aircraft a service advantage, even over its Russian competitors.

Any other aircraft than the Gripen means not only an investment but also a risk that it will be a loss. Ukraine will have to build new or renovate existing military airstrips. This in no way intended to escape the “eyes” of the Russian intelligence satellites. A retaliatory response via the Russian bombing of the infrastructure projects in question is 100 percent certain.

Brazil's JAS 39 Gripen receives multi-domain MANET datalinks
Photo credit: SAAB

SAAB developed the Gripen specifically to counter Soviet and Russian fighters. The Gripen is designed to fight domestic warfare in the conditions of the Swedish climate, landscape, and geography. The Gripen is the western fighter that is the most maneuverable of its competitors and comes closest to the maneuverability of the Russian adversary. Quality and ability that Russia has been developing for decades and continues to be a world leader in this indicator.

Gripen operators are few in the world. These are Sweden, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa, Thailand, and Great Britain. In reality, of the listed countries, only Sweden can afford to “donate” fighter jets to Ukraine. Gripen numbers among other operators are not large and are the basis of their air force fleet. United Britain as a country would afford a donation of Gripens, but British ones are used by the RAF for training and exercise, not combat.


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