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Saab Global

Gripen and historic Saab fighters take to the skies for summer displays

3 min read

This summer, Swedish and Hungarian Gripen fighters will be joined by historic Saab aircraft for a number of airshow appearances. 

The Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire and Bray Airshow in Ireland will see Saab aircraft take to the sky and perform for thousands of spectators. Those seeing the aircraft up close will be able to trace technological development from the Lansen all the way to today’s Gripen E.


The Gripen pilots will showcase world-leading capabilities that are the result of decades of technical development. From Saab’s first aircraft the B-17 to the present day, Saab have developed aircraft at the forefront of technology. Initially contracted by Sweden in the run up to the Second World War, demand grew as the Cold War intensified. For example, the Draken aircraft saw service in the Austrian, Danish and Finnish air forces.


The Saab aircraft of the Cold War were almost completely built with in-house technology, ensuring Saab could improve capabilities with each successive aircraft. By the time the Viggen took to the sky, pilots were flying with state of the art data links and sensor fusion in their cockpits. The world’s foremost fighter jet of its time, the Viggen was the pioneer of the updated modern technology found in today’s Gripen.

Saab has always worked towards developing future combat air systems, taking advantage of this long history continuous technological development.

With over 4,000 aircraft produced to date, there is a wealth of experience to draw upon as new capabilities are developed.


It is easy to see how the technology exhibited in the latest Gripen E fighter is the culmination of this journey. Gripen is designed and built for continuous development and evolution, meaning that the fighter can be updated whilst in service. The secret behind this is the modular design and a completely new avionics architecture. The design supports quick, easy and affordable upgrades, enabling air forces flying Gripen to seamlessly tap into the capabilities of the future as they are developed.

Because of this wide range of game changing capabilities, Gripen E is a multi-role fighter. It can perform air-to-air, air-to-surface and reconnaissance tasks, even during the same mission. The pilot can change roles whilst airborne, or act in multiple roles simultaneously, adding to the flexibility.

Gripen is in service with the air forces of Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa and Thailand, and will soon enter operational service with Brazil. In parallel to this, Saab has developed into a global partner with an increased focus on international cooperation. This cooperation is perhaps best shown by the fact that around 35% of Gripen components/parts come from the UK.


Saab’s commitment to support countries in keeping their people and societies safe is as strong now as it was in 1937 when the company was founded. All that has changed is the technology, as Saab continue to look to the future and develop the technologies and capabilities of tomorrow.