The Gripen fighter is the first of the new generation multirole supersonic aircraft to enter operational service. Equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and the latest weapon systems, it is able to perform an extensive
range of air-to-air, air-to-surface and reconnaissance missions. The Gripen fighter is in service with a number of air forces: Swedish, Czech, Hungarian, South African and Thai. The UK Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS) is operating Gripen as its advanced fast jet platform for test pilots worldwide. The customers have so far taken deliveries of about 200 Gripen aircraft. In 1997, Gripen was first put into operational use by the Swedish Air Force.
The Czech Republic has leased 14 Gripen C/D aircraft (12 single-seat and 2 two-seaters). The Czech Air Force uses them to protect the Czech airspace and they also constitute a part of the 24/7 NATO Integrated Air Missile Defence Systems (NATINAMDS). The lease agreement was signed on June 14, 2004, for a period of ten years. On May 16, 2014, an extension amendment was signed under which the supersonic aircraft will remain in the inventory of the Czech Air Force until 2027, with an option of an additional two-year extension. The contract includes not only full logistic support for the duration of the lease agreement, but also continuous upgrades of the aircraft, integration of new systems and training of pilots and ground-support personnel.
In 2009 and 2012, the Czech Gripens were also deployed in the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission to protect the airspace of the Baltic countries, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. In 2014, they will perform a similar mission in Iceland.
Sweden recently decided to purchase 60 Gripen fighters of the latest version designated E.
In December 2013, the Brazilian government announced its intention to acquire 36 new Gripen NG aircraft. If the contract is signed, Brazil will become another member of the expanding family of Gripen users and the first South American country to field the fighter.
Last updated: 04 March 2015 • 16:49