The future built in

A modern fighter aircraft has an operational life of thirty to forty years, perhaps even more. This poses a great challenge to air forces all over the world. How can you maintain technological superiority over the fighter’s entire life in service? Especially when engineering capabilities are becoming more widely available, to both friends and foes, and technology advances much faster.

The smartest asset of Gripen is its ability to constantly evolve. Very few things are more high tech and complex than fighter aircrafts. Still they can be upgraded the same way you upgrade the operating system on your smartphone or buy new features in apps. Traditionally, fighter aircrafts operate for 10-15 years before going through a midlife upgrade. With a long tradition of gradual development, Gripen is different. Every two to three years, we introduce new operational upgrades and combat enhancements to Gripen.

Our philosophy

Our development philosophy has significant advantages. Most importantly, the fighter is always up-to-date, continuously enhanced to take on and defeat combat challenges. Secondly, the upgrades can be adapted to specific requirements. With one major midlife upgrade, you would have to predict the future operational needs for the rest of the aircraft's lifetime, knowing very little about future threats. The world is constantly changing at a fast pace. Five years ago, few could predict the developments in Ukraine and Syria. The flexible design of Gripen allows us to constantly upgrade the system and add capability when the need arises.

How do we do it?

How is this possible to incorporate new technologies in an already existing and complex fighter? Firstly, it’s thanks to the flexible and modular design of Gripen where modules can be upgraded independently from one another with minimal impact on the rest of the aircraft. Secondly, Gripen has a split avionics architecture, where the flight critical systems are separated from the tactical ones. This way, it’s possible to make changes, adaptations and improvements in the tactical avionics without interfering with the aircraft flight characteristics and control system.

The Gripen C/D and the next-generation Gripen E are two different platforms, but they will be able to benefit from one another in future development. It will be possible to add capabilities from Gripen E to Gripen C/D, and vice versa. In the future, we see even more capabilities being added. Our customers can grow with Gripen.