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Made to take on Russia, Swedish Gripen fighter jets should go to Ukraine

The recommendation from RUSI reopens debate around Western fighter jets being sent to Ukraine, with the Swedish aircraft being tipped to provide exceptional operation value, especially against Russian long-range missile strikes.​

Tim Martin
JAS 39 Gripen

JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets escort a US B-52 Stratofortress from Bomber Task Force over Swedish airspace (Saab)

DUBLIN – A leading defense think tank has called on international policymakers to consider supplying the Ukrainian Air Force with Saab JAS 39 Gripen C/D fighter jets.

Authors from the UK-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) said in a reportMonday that after looking at the Russian air war and requirements for Ukrainian air defense, the Swedish aircraft was “by far the most suitable candidate” of Western-manufactured combat jets that could meet operational needs.

Transfer of Gripens would advance Ukrainian short- to medium-term planning by minimizing the risk of sustaining Russian long-range missile strikes, according to the report.

The authors also warned that delivery of the aircraft, alongside SAM launchers, missile ammunition and self-propelled anti-aircraft guns are all critical to preventing a new Russian strike campaign, which, if not contested, could lead to a dramatic shift in the current momentum of the war.

“Conceptually, the Swedish Air Force has always emphasised low-level air superiority tactics from dispersed bases, in a similar manner to how the Ukrainian Air Force currently operates, and so the Gripen was designed with ground support equipment and maintenance requirements compatible with that approach,” stated the publication. “The electronic warfare suite on the Gripen C/D is also optimised specifically for countering Russian fighter and SAM radars.”

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Additionally, the authors cite Gripen’s anti-ship capability and integration of MBDA’s Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) and ramjet propulsion design being “less adversely affected” by counterthreats, compared to weapons with rocket-powered propulsion. Air launched weapons relying on rocket powered technology are widely considered to be more exposed to ground based threats because of their “low and slow” capability profiles.

“Since April, VKS [Russian Air Force] pilots have been extremely reluctant to aggressively fight their way into Ukrainian airspace due to the losses taken during early attempts,” note the RUSI authors. “The threat of Ukrainian SAM and MANPADS engagements has shaped the behaviour and constrained the effectiveness of Russian pilots significantly.

“Therefore, even a few modern Western fighters with long-range missiles able to meet the Russians on technically equal or even superior terms would likely have a disproportionate deterrent effect.”

Despite such analysis reopening debate over whether or not European or US decision makers should approve Western-made fighter jets being sent to Ukraine, tensions around the matter, often linked to fears of conflict escalation, permissions for sorties being flown from NATO territory and training difficulties, continue to hold up progress.
 

Ali_Baba

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The Gripen-E would be the best from an operational perspective - esp given the ability to operate from rough and ready roads etc.

The problem is that Ukraine cannot afford to buy them - and I would see the Americans preferring to transfer excess, and pay for new build F16s to give to Ukraine rather than Gripens..
 

jhungary

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Can Ukraine pay for even used Gripen Jets? Or Sweden is willing to donate some to Ukraine?
Well, Ukraine don't need to pay for them, US has fund for that.

But the issue is not simply whether they can afford, or fly them, but where to host them. Every airbase in Ukraine are fair game and can be touched by Russia drone and missile, the risk are high, and then you need to consider how to fix these aircraft, and lcoation to fix this aircraft.

Unless Ukraine can fly these off and maintain these in Poland or something, This will never happen
 

nahtanbob

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The acquisition costs, training and maintenance are too high for Ukraine. If Ukraine had 200 operational Gripens with trained pilots and crew they will rout the Russian army
The Gripens with their ability to take off and land off highways will be too much for Russians to account for
 

Bleek

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The acquisition costs, training and maintenance are too high for Ukraine. If Ukraine had 200 operational Gripens with trained pilots and crew they will rout the Russian army
The Gripens with their ability to take off and land off highways will be too much for Russians to account for
I really want to see something like this, especially the meteor missile
 

A.P. Richelieu

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Well, Ukraine don't need to pay for them, US has fund for that.

But the issue is not simply whether they can afford, or fly them, but where to host them. Every airbase in Ukraine are fair game and can be touched by Russia drone and missile, the risk are high, and then you need to consider how to fix these aircraft, and lcoation to fix this aircraft.

Unless Ukraine can fly these off and maintain these in Poland or something, This will never happen
The reason the Gripen is recommended is that Gripen was designed to be maintained by conscripts supervised by an experienced regular guy.
Everything you need to operate a Gripen fits on two lorries (not including fuel and ordonance). It needs a road which is straight for a mere 800 meters.
Many broken things can be fixed using Line Replacable Units, which can be repaired outside Ukraine.

Deliveries of the Gripen E for the Swedish Air Force has started but it has not reached IOC. Both Hungary and The Czech Republic have Gripen C, and Hungary is considering replacing their Gripen once the leasing period expires. They of course are not very supportive of Ukraine and just upgraded their Gripens to MS20 Block 2 and extended the lease to 2026. South Africa might consider selling some of theirs.

The acquisition costs, training and maintenance are too high for Ukraine. If Ukraine had 200 operational Gripens with trained pilots and crew they will rout the Russian army
The Gripens with their ability to take off and land off highways will be too much for Russians to account for
Sweden has 90-100 Gripen C/Ds and plan to keep maybe 40 of them when the Gripen E is fully inducted in the Swedish Air Force.
There will be surplus Gripen Cs available to an affordable price, but it will take time.
 
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nahtanbob

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The reason the Gripen is recommended is that Gripen was designed to be maintained by conscripts supervised by an experienced regular guy.
Everything you need to operate a Gripen fits on two lorries (not including fuel and ordonance). It needs a road which is straight for a mere 800 meters.
Many broken things can be fixed using Line Replacable Units, which can be repaired outside Ukraine.

Deliveries of the Gripen E for the Swedish Air Force has started but it has not reached IOC. Both Hungary and The Czech Republic have Gripen C, and Hungary is considering replacing their Gripen once the leasing period expires. They of course are not very supportive of Ukraine and just upgraded their Gripens to MS20 Block 2 and extended the lease to 2026. South Africa might consider selling some of theirs.


Sweden has 90-100 Gripen C/Ds and plan to keep maybe 40 of them when the Gripen E is fully inducted in the Swedish Air Force.
There will be surplus Gripen Cs available to an affordable price, but it will take time.
My 200 number was a number pulled out of air. It does not reflect what can be delivered or not
 

omegared

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Great Idea, keep poking the Russian bear, this will end badly.

Also, this is as plausible and practical, as us sending JF17's and Al Khalid's to Russia.

We need this war to end quickly and to start buying Russian gas /Oil again and for wheat exports to from Russia /Ukraine to restart.
 
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Whizzack

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Well.. lately Gripen sales has been rather.. meh.. even though it's an excellent platform for its size, capabilities and price.. having Ukraine use it successfully against Russia just might be the boost needed for it to be more successful in the international market.. 😁
 

Beast

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Well, Ukraine don't need to pay for them, US has fund for that.

But the issue is not simply whether they can afford, or fly them, but where to host them. Every airbase in Ukraine are fair game and can be touched by Russia drone and missile, the risk are high, and then you need to consider how to fix these aircraft, and lcoation to fix this aircraft.

Unless Ukraine can fly these off and maintain these in Poland or something, This will never happen
US funds are running low. There are already voices within neocon about whether to continue support Ukraine.
Printing toilet paper has a limit.
 

jhungary

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US funds are running low. There are already voices within neocon about whether to continue support Ukraine.
Printing toilet paper has a limit.
First of all, not sure if you know GOP failed to win the Senate, and not going to win the House in a big margin, that is if they win at all, there are still pathway for dem to hold the house. Which mean policy already made cannot be rolled back by GOP because they don't control senate, you need the senate majority to roll back any bill.

Second of all, the current bill that Pres Biden signed into law provided 40 billion funding, of those only 18.3 billion was used, also for US to transfer any existing article to Ukraine in lend lease program, which had yet to be used, both bills already passed, again, unless the Dem themselves roll it back, GOP can't do squat. Which mean US still have 21.7 billion to spend WITHOUT passing any new bill and also with lend lease option.

And finally, supporting Ukraine have bi-partisan agreement, with GOP win the house with minimal number, which mean neocon control would also be minimal number, it's not really hard to pass bill that support Ukraine, they may need to make compromise, but seeing the progress in the ground, they are more than willing to print toilet paper to screw with Russia and more likely China in the next 2 years.
 

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