The JAS 39 E/F Gripen PlusFrom Aerospace Review MagazineArtist's depiction of SAAB's JAS 39 E Gripen+
Järfälla, Sweden -- SAAB has disclosed today details of the new version of the JAS 39 Gripen. The basic design will suffer several modifications to provide the Swedish Air Force with improved air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities. The JAS 39 E/F is expected to enter limited service with the Swedish Air Force in 2018 and to fully replace the C/D variants by 2021. Further details will be released as the project nears completion. According to the Ministry of Defense, the research program will cost approximately 420 billion SEK, but will greatly increase the Gripen's effectiveness.AIRFRAME CHANGES
The Gripen+ features a 20% longer fuselage to provide room for the new avionics and additional fuel. The wing area was also doubled, greatly extending the Gripen’s range, while maintaining its legendary short/unimproved field performance. The engine air intakes were properly merged to the fuselage in an effort to reduce the number of gaps. The canards and wings are new, made entirely of a high strength carbon nanotube reinforced polymer composite. The fuselage is also made largely of carbon fiber composites, greatly reducing the weight of the Gripen.RADAR SIGNATURE REDUCTION FEATURES
Altough not a stealth fighter, measures were taken to reduce the Gripen’s radar cross section. For example, the wing leading edges are highly swept, designed to reflect radar energy away from the frontal area. In addition, a radar absorbent material, developed by SAAB, coats many of the most significant reflectors, such as the wing leading edges, the intake edges and interior, the rudder surrounds, strakes, etc. According to SAAB, the RCS of the Gripen Plus is under two square meters.RADAR
The Gripen+ will be equipped with the new Ericsson PS/05 Mark 5 multifunction AESA radar. It is a full solid-state system, composed of 1,500 transmit/receive modules and offers a 120°field of view in azimuth and elevation. It is fully capable of high-resolution synthetic aperture radar mapping, ground moving target indication and track (GMTI/GMTT), automatic cueing and recognition, combat identification, and many other advanced functions.INFRA-RED SEARCH AND TRACK
The Gripen+ will be equipped with an infra-red search and track system mounted on the starboard side of the fuselage, below the air intake. The system will operate in two IR bands, 3-5 and 8-11 microns. When used with the radar in an air-to-air role, it will function as an Infrared Search and Track system (IRST), providing passive target detection and tracking. In an air-to-surface role, it will perform target identification and acquisition. It will also provide navigation and landing aid. The system will be linked to the pilot’s helmet mounted display.HELMET MOUNTED DISPLAY SYSTEM
The Gripen+ will feature a brand new Helmet Mounted Display System, being developed by SAAB and Ericsson. In addition to standard HMD capabilities offered by other systems, the system will provide the pilot video with imagery in day or night conditions in addition to traditional HUD symbology. SAAB and Ericsson are also studying the possibility of using a virtual retinal display.VOICE CONTROL
The Gripen+ will also feature a Direct Voice Input System, DVI provides the pilot with an additional natural mode of command and control non-critical cockpit functions, to reduce pilot workload, improve aircraft safety, and expand mission capabilities. It will not be used for any safety-critical or weapon-critical tasks, such as weapon release or lowering of the undercarriage, but will be used for a wide range of other cockpit functions.