The Power of Gripen E's Arsenal
From dominating beyond visual range (BVR) missions to engaging in dogfights, Gripen E's weapon system covers all bases. The fighter can carry a payload of 10 weapons to conduct a wide variety of offensive and defensive missions. Read on to learn about a few of the many weapon types that can be used with Gripen to maximise its lethality.
Meteor – From Beyond Visual Range
Best in class to maintain air dominance, build pressure and diminish the opponent's material strength in any air-to-air mission, Meteor provides Gripen with powerful and lethal stand-off capabilities. "Meteor offers an operational range of much more than 100 kms, and currently has the largest No-escape Zone (NEZ) among air-to-air missiles. Meteor's unique Ramjet throttled propulsion system helps it maintain very high energy throughout its flight, resulting in a much higher probability of intercept against any air target. For a modern Air Force like the IAF, the Meteor capability will be an absolute gamechanger," says Kent-Åke Molin, Sales and Marketing Director at Saab.
The Meteor BVRAAM detects, tracks and locks onto its targets using a jamming-resistant active radar seeker and proximity fuse, which makes the missile highly resistant to enemy countermeasures, ensuring a sure hit. It is also equipped with a two-way datalink, a unique feature compared to almost any other air-to-air missile today, which provides the pilot with valuable information during the missile's engagement. With this feature, the missile can also be retargeted mid-course, if required.
IRIS-T - Dominating the Short-Range Clash
The IRIS-T missile is the next-generation within visual range air-to-air missile built with an all-encompassing design that can detect, track, engage, and defeat any air target, even in dense modern countermeasure environments.
The solid propellant motor of IRIS-T gives it the capability to travel at the supersonic speed of Mach 3 with a range of more than 25 kilometres. Owing to its thrust-vectoring control, the IRIS-T can engage highly manoeuvrable targets, even if they are located behind you. With its high resolution imaging wide-angle infrared seeker, the missile can flexibly discriminate countermeasures from real targets. Furthermore, the IRIS-T's Lock-on After Launch capability enables flexible target engagement beyond what is possible with previous missile designs. For example, it can lock onto targets after it has been launched from the aircraft.
TAURUS KEPD – 350 – The long range Air to Surface Missile
In air-to-ground operations, the focus often also lies on the stand-off strike segment, a capability of high strategic value. For this mission, Gripen E can be fitted with the TAURUS strike missile, which provides unbeatable long-range strike capability against multiple target types and complexes. TAURUS missile maintains survivability by cruising at the nap of earth, providing cover from detection by means of physical terrain, which also means very efficient use of the missile's range. Owing to its very powerful, smart, scalable warhead, most often, only one missile hit will be required to achieve the desired effect. Gripen E and TAURUS provide a very important strategic deterrent against any threat.
Highly explosive guided bombs
With guided bombs, very high accuracy against fixed, moving and manoeuvring targets can be achieved. Gripen E uses a mix of guided and unguided munitions, such as the Mk 80-series, Paveways and Enhanced Paveways.
For stand-off precision strike missions, where also often collateral damage control is required, Gripen uses GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb and/or the Spice series munition.
"Gripen E is the most advanced fighter of this generation. Its flexible architecture allows weapons of all kinds to be easily integrated. If the IAF selects Gripen, it can choose munitions of any combination from any country for its requirements," Kent-Åke Molin says.
The Mauser BK27 – The Close Combat Gun
Next to the flexible weapons arsenal already mentioned, of course, Gripen E also has a powerful gun for close-range air-to-air and air-to-ground engagements. The fighter aircraft is equipped with one of the most reliable guns – the 27 millimeter Mauser. Developed by Mauser-Werke Oberndorf, Germany, the gun is equipped with a first-of-its-kind linkless ammunition feeding system which is less prone to stoppage and occupies less space.
All in all, with its comprehensive weapon suite, Gripen handles every threat situation. And should the Indian Air Force choose Gripen and require a weapon not yet used on the fighter, it can be easily integrated.