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How Gripen fits the IAF requirements

3 min read

India’s MRFA project is at the RFI evaluation stage at the moment. With Saab in the fray for India's 114 fighter tender, here are a few reasons why the Gripen fighter fits the Indian Air Force's requirements.

Availability

As Mats Palmberg, Head of Gripen India campaign points out, ‘’A highly capable aircraft needs to be in the sky when it’s needed. There is no use waiting for an aircraft that takes hours to turnaround during a critical mission.’’

With vast borders and probability of frictions, India needs a fighter that offers rapid deployment capability. Gripen, with its high sortie rates, and the capability to sustain high-tempo operations, totally fits the bill. With its Short Take-off and Landing (STOL) capabilities, the Gripen fighter can be operated from a runway that is only 800 × 16m long and wide. This means that Gripens can be operated out of far-flung areas that are with or without proper runways. Not just that, less personnel, facilities, and tools are required to get a Gripen back in the air again after a mission. According to Jussi Halmetoja, Operations Adviser of Air Domain at Saab Aeronautics, and a former Gripen pilot, with the same fleet size as any other modern aircraft, Gripen can bring the IAF twice the availability.

Capability

The IAF needs to be ready to counter any aggression with an enhanced ability to assess the scenario and attack, both in case of air-to-air or air-to-ground missions. The Gripen fighter has been developed to counter the advanced threats of the future. Integration of active and passive sensors ensures the fighter can either reduce the enemy’s ability to attack or destroy their assets without giving its position away. Gripen E fuses all the data from a battle cloud in a way that assists the pilot in getting a better picture of the ground, and even helps him make the right decisions at critical junctures during a mission. With superior sensors and active jamming, the pilot can fire weapons either beyond the point at which opposing forces can respond or without them ever realising Gripen was there in the first place.

In Gripen, you can integrate weapons from any country. The highlight of the Gripen weapon system is the full dual-link meteor which gives you revolutionary tactics where its ramjet propulsion system provides optimal thrust and capability to destroy fast-moving targets at long range.

Adaptability

A fighter aircraft needs to be relevant for years to come. Gripen’s existing algorithms can be updated to meet the operator’s future requirements without reducing the high availability of the aircraft. An open architecture allows constant updates to be made without making the whole process too complicated. Any part of the architecture can be modified with minimal system impact because of the multiple hardware and software abstraction layers in the Gripen architecture. This enables Gripen to adapt and be ready for an uncertain future.