To stay operationally relevant is a key factor in modern warfare

Recently, the Czech Air Force successfully completed the MS20 capability upgrade to its fleet of Gripen fighter aircraft, greatly increasing its combat and communication capabilities. The upgrade is part of the Gripen design philosophy to evolve continuously and tailor solutions according to customer’s various needs.

The new MS20 capability enhancement for Gripen C-series involves both hardware and software upgrades, giving a whole series of improvements and new functionality both in terms of the aircraft itself and the ancillary support and training systems. The capability upgrade was first introduced with the Swedish Air Force in 2016. In addition to a basic package, each customer can customise their order with optional upgrades depending on their specific national requirements.


“MS20 is designed as a basic package with a number of optional add-ons to allow it to be customised. Our long-term design work, which is based on an evolutionary approach, means that we do not develop separate tracks, but carry out gradual functional enhancements that we can then base our customisations on. It’s cost-effective for our customers,” says Åsa Schöllin, project manager for Gripen C/D at Saab.


So, let’s take a closer look at the improvements that the MS20 brings for the Czech Air Force. The upgrade greatly enhances Gripen’s ability to engage ground targets by incorporating unguided and laser-guided bombs into the aircraft payload and the air-to-air capability is enhanced by introduction of new radar modes. Another key element will be the integration of the targeting electro-optical pod Litening III, which will be used not only for guiding missiles and bombs, but also in aerial reconnaissance and combat. The upgrade also implements the Alliance datalink - Link 16 - as well as cryptomodules for covert communication.


"Thanks to the modernization of the Czech Gripen aircraft, the operational capabilities of the Czech Air Force will be significantly increased. Our staff has appreciated a close and fruitful cooperation with the Swedish side on this specific modernization project as well as the cooperation during the 13 years that we have operated Gripen aircraft," said Colonel Petr Tománek, Commander of the Czech Air Force’s Caslav Air Base.