STOCKHOLM, (BM) – Swedish Air Force Commander Mats Helgesson recently made the bold announcement that the Saab Gripen E can grind an impressive fleet of Russian fighters, without the Swedes even needing the expensive stealth technology that the United States so relies on, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
“The Gripen, especially the Model E, is specifically designed to destroy the Su fighters. We have a black belt,” Helgesson told the Finnish news portal Yle at a presentation in Finland, where Sweden is trying to export planes.
Sukhoi’s Russian fighters achieved their legendary status thanks to their ability to outperform American fighters in aerial combat and perform dangerous and spectacular air maneuvers, but Gripen, according to the Swedes, “cracked the code.”
Gripen is not capable of carrying a combat load similar to Russian fighters and has no real invisibility. This is not the fastest or even the cheapest plane. But he has a special specialization, which makes him a “nightmare” for Russian fighters.
Justin Bronk, an expert at the Royal United Services Institute, told Business Insider that just as the American A-10 Warthog attack aircraft “was designed around its powerful cannon,” the Gripen was built with a focus on electronic warfare.
Almost all modern aircraft carry out electronic warfare to some degree, Bronk said, but the Gripen E stands above all others.
Gripen pilots do not like to reveal all the details, but during training flights, they have demonstrated the ability to “jam” the enemy, says Bronk.
“A few years ago, Gripen pilots, tired of being ridiculed by their German counterparts on Typhoon fighters, showed off their electronic counterparts, which gave the German pilots hellish difficulties,” said Bronk. According to him, one of the Gripenes was able to “hang” on the left wing of the Typhoon without being detected “due to its” extreme “jamming ability.
“It would be fair to assume that the Gripen is one of the most effective electronic warfare fighters,” he said, adding that the Gripen fighters that confused the Typhoons are from the C / D series, which have much less electronic warfare capabilities. than the Gripen E series.
Who needs stealth?
To defeat the “terrifying” Russian fighters and surface-to-air missiles, the United States has relied on stealth aircraft. These aircraft cost a lot of money and impose design features on the aircraft.
If Russia can effectively detect stealth fighters such as the American F-35, then one of the most expensive weapons systems in history will be of little use.
The Swedes decided to take a different, cheaper way in the fight against Russian fighters and missiles, focusing on electronic warfare. This gives them an edge over stealth aircraft, as they can be upgraded without major design changes, according to Bronk. Unfortunately, Bronk does not say why he thinks that the Americans designed their aircraft without a combination of stealth technology and electronic warfare systems onboard.
The same Bronk claims that Saab plans to update the Gripen E software every two years, which will allow it to constantly adapt to the requirements of modern warfare.
“However, Sweden benefits from the fact that Russia focuses on the fight against US fighters. If a war breaks out between Russia and the West, Russia is likely to focus on fighting US air power rather than the Swedish Gripen E, which is currently only a few dozen planes,” says Bronk.
Beware of Su fighter jets
The whole concept of Gripen E is to “operate in Swedish airspace, using all the terrain features under the cover of friendly air defense systems with an electronic warfare system, which in theory should protect Sweden from Russian missiles and aircraft,” Bronk said.
In addition, the Gripen E can use almost any missile weapon produced in the USA or Europe.
“If you combine an excellent radar with excellent electronic warfare and the ‘most efficient’ Meteor air-to-air missile, which is jam-resistant … There is no reason to assume it won’t be damn effective,” Bronk said. “If you are a Dryer, then you are likely to face something very scary.”
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