GKN Aerospace, in collaboration with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) and Saab, has secured a £2m ($2.4m) contract to upgrade the RM12 engines that power the JAS 39 Gripen C/D fighter aircraft. 

This development project aims to improve engine performance and reduce lifecycle costs.

GKN Aerospace, has a 90-year strategic relationship with the Swedish Air Force, and is the original equipment manufacturer for the RM12 engine. The contract represents the final phase of a development project initiated by GKN Aerospace in 2019.

Beyond traditional engine enhancements, this project involves updating the engine software integrated into the aircraft system. Saab and GE Aerospace will collaborate with GKN Aerospace to deliver this software upgrade. 

The upgraded RM12 engine will be tested at GKN Aerospace’s facility in Trollhättan, Sweden, with flight testing responsibilities shared by Saab and FMV.

In February this year, GKN Aerospace received a $19.36m investment to modernise and construct the Trollhättan engine test facility to support the development and maintenance of RM12 and RM16 engines that power the JAS 39 Gripen multi-role fighter jet.

The RM16 engine type belongs to Sweden’s upcoming fighter aircraft, JAS 39 Gripen E, and was run for the first time in October 2022 in a development rig in the defence infrastructure for product support and maintenance at GKN Aerospace in Trollhättan.

Stefan Oscarsson, vice president of Government and Space for GKN Aerospace Engine’s business, stated: “The order means that we at GKN Aerospace continue to strengthen our competence and ability to handle complex, full-engine systems for fighter aircraft for the future.”

The Swedish Air Force has been flying the JAS 39C/D multi-role aircraft since 1996 and finished procuring the fighter jet in 2007. In the 11 years of procurement, Sweden has added 95 aircraft units from Saab, according to GlobalData’s “Sweden Armed Forces – Equipment Inventory 2023” report.   

For years, GKN Aerospace has consistently supplied support for Gripen’s RM12 for day-to-day operations for JAS 39 Gripen C/D users. The company has ensured engine availability for every Swedish Air Force mission and Gripen C/D export customers: the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Thailand. This will include technical product support and comprehensive maintenance, repair and overhaul, including repair development and spare parts supply.

As GKN Aerospace, FMV, and SAAB join forces to elevate the RM12 engine to new heights, the JAS 39 Gripen C/D and its operators will move forward to a future marked by enhanced performance and sustainable operational costs.