Gripen C/D Flies with Saab’s new AESA Radar for the First Time

On April 8, Saab flew its new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) X-band radar in a Gripen fighter (800) for the first time, at Saab’s Linköping airfield. The 90-minute sortie was undertaken to test the radar against airborne targets of opportunity and other ground targets as well.

“This is an important step in the development of our new AESA radar,” Anders Carp, senior vice president and head of Saab's Surveillance business area, tells AIN. “We see great possibilities for the radar. Its modular, adaptable and scalable design allows it to be used for a range of other applications as well,” Carp adds.


Saab will continue to perform these initial tests for three to four more months, with about 15 more flights for the Gripen 800 with the AESA radar. The new sensor will also be used against hunting targets.

AESA has hundreds of gallium nitride (GaN) transmit/receive modules which help the radar achieve better performance in terms of electronic countermeasures, small target detection, and greater bandwidth. Unlike the GaAs (gallium arsenide) semiconductor used in most radar arrays, GaN generates less heat and allows more power to be transmitted through the array. 

Saab is a pioneer in the technology of GaN designed AESA radar, among other sensors and systems like the Giraffe ground- and sea-based radars, electronic warfare equipment, and with the Erieye ER S-band radar employed in the GlobalEye surveillance aircraft. With more than 30 years of experience in AESA design, Saab has an advantage of using the radar solution to its full extent for a superior air domain awareness amidst dense signal environment.

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