Saab could have started a new project from scratch and literally made a paper plane. Instead we opted to continue developing the proven Gripen concept.
“The demo programme showed that continued development was possible and that new requirements sought after by air forces could be met by evolving Gripen C/D; increasing the range, sensor performance, counter measures, communication and weapons load. At the same time, we could see that the aircraft’s performance could be improved and life cycle cost reduced,” says Ulf Nilsson, Head of Gripen
The new Gripen’s solutions need to meet the demands of the market. A demo programme was therefore initiated back in 2006 to indicate which new capabilities customers were demanding of Gripen, such as increased cargo capacity, new sensors and the ability to stay in the air longer.
In other words, many of the major actions taken for the Gripen E had already been done in a flying demo version, so the project’s risks were greatly reduced. Saab showed with the demo programme that the Gripen E fulfi ls the increased requirements while otherwise maintaining performance standards. Th e Gripen E’s engine will have approximately 20 per cent greater thrust than engines from previous Gripen versions.