Gripen E prototype

The Swedish Defence Material Organisation (FMV) has awarded a contract to Saab to support the production of JAS 39 Gripen E multi-role combat aircraft.

Under the terms of SEK5.8bn ($802m) contract, the company will provide maintenance and support systems and also support pre-work for the Gripen E production.

Claimed to be the next step in the further development of the E-version of the JAS 39 flight system, the contracts form part of an agreement signed between the company and FMV in February 2013, covering activity for Gripen E from 2013 to 2026.

Total value of the orders under the original 2013 agreement, including those scheduled to be awarded in future, is estimated to be around SEK47.2bn ($7bn).

FMV Gripen programme manager Dan Averstad said the contract is a direct consequence of the decision taken by the Swedish Government in August last year that the development and procurement of the Gripen E shall be pursued in accordance to a plan.

Saab is already under contract to develop and modify 60 Gripen E fighters for the Swedish Armed Forces.

Deliveries of the aircraft are scheduled to commence in 2018 and will complete in 2026.

A next-generation version of the JAS 39 Gripen aircraft, the Gripen E features more powerful engines, a new active electronically scanned array radar, advanced avionics, and upgraded presentation systems in the cockpit to successfully conduct longer missions.

Equipped with increased number of weapon pylons, the fighter has maximum payload and more internal fuel for improved range and endurance, and is expected to enable the Swedish Air Force to meet its future operational requirements.

Image: A JAS 39 Gripen E aircraft prototype in flight. Photo:Courtesy of Swedish Defence Materiel Administration.