Sharing real-time operational data
It was in the Draken that Saab initiated the technology of sharing real-time operational data between aircraft in a fighting unit, using radio frequencies. Critical information could now be passed between fighters, allowing the majority to engage the enemy whilst remaining radio and radar silent. This in turn led to the development of new fighting tactics that gave the Swedish fighters a key advantage over their opponents. This technology was to mature over the next 30 years into the most sophisticated internal fighter to fighter data-link in the world, and forms an essential element in the fighting capability of all Gripen aircraft in service now, and in the future.
Saab 35 Draken
One aircraft, several roles
During this period of intensive Cold War flying operations it became clear that it would be more cost-effective if each aircraft was capable of conducting several roles. At the same time, there
was a pressing need to reduce the maintenance cost which could only be achieved by operating a unified fleet with a single design. The resulting conceptual study for a new aircraft, the Saab 37 Viggen, came up with the vision of a common aircraft type, capable of fully operational use from unprepared road bases. Operational from the 70s, the Viggen fighter system eventually matured into three versions. Each of them had a clearly defined and developed secondary role. The Viggen, although a very powerful and successful combat aircraft, was like so many other fighters of this generation too expensive to replace on a like for like basis. The need for a true multi-role fighter that combined all the roles carried out by the Viggen variants led to the studies, and eventual development of, the Gripen fighter.
Saab 37 Viggen