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Bigger, Better And Not The Same At All

June 27 2012 at 1:07 PM
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Bigger, Better And Not The Same At All
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June 27, 2012: The Swedish Air Force recently got the go-ahead to build prototypes of the new JAS 39E Gripen fighter. This happened mainly because Switzerland has agreed to buy it. The Swedish Air Force hopes this will persuade their own government to buy some of these aircraft. Formerly known as the Gripen NG (Next Generation) fighters, the JAS 39E will be heavier (17 tons), have better electronics, a heavier payload (over four tons), and be a two seater version better able to handle ground attack and electronic warfare duties. The Swedish Air Force already has 120 JAS 39C Gripens in service and the prospect of more defense budget cuts made the purchase of 60 Gripen NGs (at a total cost of nearly $5 billion) seemingly impossible. But the JAS 39E excited several export customers and that made all the difference.

Sweden is describing the 39E as a "new aircraft" compared to the earlier JAS 39 models. There's some truth to that, as the 39E is a little longer and heavier, but still looks like a Gripen, The 39E is full of more expensive, and capable, electronics, but that's not obvious by just looking at the new model. The first 39E is expected to fly next year and enter service in 2018.

The Gripen has already undergone one major enhancement to the JAS 39C model. Improvements included inflight refueling, better electronics, and improved ground attack capability. The C model was also compliant with NATO standards for warplanes. This was necessary for export sales. There was also a two seat D model for training.

The 14 ton JAS-39C is roughly comparable to the latest versions of the F-16. The Gripen is small but can carry up to 3.6 tons of weapons. With the increasing use of smart bombs this is adequate. Often regarded as an also-ran in the current crop of "modern jet fighters", the Swedish Gripen is proving to be more competition than the major players (the F-16, F-18, F-35, Eurofighter, Rafale, MiG-29, and Su-27) expected. Put simply, Gripen does a lot of little (but important) things right and costs about half as much (at about $35 million each) as its major competitors. More importantly, Gripen also costs about half as much, per flight hour, to operate. In effect, Gripen provides the ruggedness and low cost of Russian aircraft with the high quality and reliability of Western aircraft. For many nations this is an appealing combination. The Gripen is easy to use (both for pilots and ground crews) and capable of doing all jet fighter jobs (air defense, ground support, and reconnaissance) well enough.

The JAS 39 entered active service in 1997 and has had an uphill battle getting export sales. Sweden does not have the diplomatic clout of its major competitors, so they have to push quality and service. Swedish warplanes and products in general have an excellent reputation in both categories. Nevertheless, the Gripen is still expected to lose out on a lot of sales simply because politics took precedence over performance.

http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htairfo/articles/20120627.aspx

The only photo I could find of the E model is a 1/72 scale model, but you get the idea.


[linked image]"The chief aim of all government is to preserve the freedom of the citizen. His control over his person, his property, his movements, his business, his desires should be restrained only so far as the public welfare imperatively demands. The world is in more danger of being governed too much than too little.

It is the teaching of all history that liberty can only be preserved in small areas. Local self-government is, therefore, indispensable to liberty. A centralized and distant bureaucracy is the worst of all tyranny.

Taxation can justly be levied for no purpose other than to provide revenue for the support of the government. To tax one person, class or section to provide revenue for the benefit of another is none the less robbery because done under the form of law and called taxation."

John W. Davis, Democratic Presidential Candidate, 1924. Davis was one of the greatest trial and appellate lawyers in US history. He also served as the US Ambassador to the UK.
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Response TitleAuthorDate
 Re: Bigger, Better And Not The Same At AllTalatpashaJun 27, 2012, 6:37 PM
 Sweet planeRobbJun 27, 2012, 10:13 PM
 Re: Bigger, Better And Not The Same At AllFNJun 28, 2012, 11:30 AM
 Re: Bigger, Better And Not The Same At AllWAFFerJun 28, 2012, 6:31 PM
 Re: Bigger, Better And Not The Same At AllTaygibayJun 28, 2012, 11:16 PM
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