All About Gripen's Offensive Electronic Warfare Capabilities
In a world obsessed with stealth aircraft, fighters constantly upgrade their systems to stay undetected. Instead of focussing on stealth, Saab, however chose to focus on electronic warfare or EW systems.
The most important reason behind this shift in focus is evolving technology which tends to render stealth useless in the face of advances in radars. Even the most stealthy aircraft of today have parts with detectable radar signature. Another unavoidable factor is the high development, production, and maintenance cost incurred to build stealth.
In the modern airspace, signals such as radio, infrared or radar have made things complicated for fighter pilots. An advanced fighter aircraft ought to have updated Electronic Warfare (EW) capabilities to use these signals for their benefit. From establishing safe communication with the allies and ground network, protecting themselves from an upcoming attack, to identifying any impending threats, the EW system plays a role at every stage.
Featuring survivability and offensive EW capabilities like Missile Warning Systems (MAW), active electronic countermeasures, Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) systems, along with advanced jammers, Gripen E not just avoids detection, but also gets close, engages, and attacks.
When it comes to Gripen E's offensive EW capabilities, Electronic Attack Jammer Pods with increased frequency range at very low band, and Air-Launched Decoy Missile System (LADM) that gives additional jamming capability, are important systems. However, the most unique aspect of Gripen's EW system is its networked sensors (both on-board and from other platforms) that enable the fighter to enter highly contested airspaces and counter even the most advanced threats like Su-57 and S-400 and make the first move.
“With our state-of-the-art electronic warfare suite, we beat stealth. Gripen E’s advanced radars can detect the targets that are ten times smaller than usual. The passive sensors make sure the position of the aircraft is not compromised. Along with the embedded EW suite, Gripen can be integrated with jammers and decoy missiles for more demanding missions. With a world-class 360 degree protection, Gripen E offers the IAF a superior alternative to stealth,” says Mats Palmberg, head of Gripen India campaign.