The spokesman of the Ukrainian Air Force, Yuri Ihnat, assured this Sunday that his country is in negotiations with Sweden for the acquisition of Swedish Gripen fighter jets, a model that has been tested by many Ukrainian pilots, according to statements. collected by Europa Press.
It is expected that the first F-16 fighter jets donated by several European countries, including the Netherlands, can be deployed soon in Ukraine. Today, the Russian Air Force has a huge advantage over the Ukrainians, and the lack of air support has been cited as one of the reasons why the summer counteroffensive has been slow.
Ihnat believes that if deliveries are made, the Swedish Jas 39 Gripen will be a good complement to the F-16. Especially since the aircraft “is designed to counter Russian SAMs (surface-to-air missile systems) and fast-flying jets, with an internal electronic warfare suite. It is easy to maintain and operates from dispersed bases with mobile equipment.” of vehicles,” as explained by the British defense think tank RUSI.
In October, the Swedish Government commissioned the Swedish Defense Forces to analyze the conditions for the delivery of the Gripen to Ukraine. One of the conditions for sending its fighter jets is that Sweden first becomes a member of NATO.
Ihnat explained during a television interview that Stockholm intends to replace these previously used fighters with other improved models, although he did not provide further details on the status of the negotiations.
Although Kyiv intends to strengthen its air fleet, especially with American F-16 fighters, which have already been promised to many countries and whose pilots are trained to handle them, the arrival of Swedish fighters will be “a good option” for the Ukrainian Army, according to the spokesman himself.
Sweden, which has had a long policy of neutrality since the Napoleonic Wars at the end of the 19th century, ended this position after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 by requesting its participation in NATO. In addition, it supports Ukraine financially and militarily.
What is Gripen?
Gripen fighters are multirole aircraft from Swedish manufacturer Saab and were originally designed to replace variants of the Saab 35 Viggen and Saab 37 Draken fighter aircraft. Its development began in the late 1970s as part of a joint effort by an industrial consortium, including Saab, Saab Microwave Systems (formerly Ericsson), Volvo Aero Corporation, Saab Avionics and FFV Aerotech. Its first flight took place in 1988 and it entered service with the Swedish Air Force in 1997.
The JAS 39 Gripen and the F-35A are the only two Western single-engine fighters and have a lot in common, including the fact that they were designed to prioritize low cost. The F-35, on the other hand, weighs almost twice as much and its F135 engine has more than three times the thrust of the Gripen’s F414.