The importance of a highly advanced EW suite
Gripen E is designed to work within the enemy’s A2AD (Anti-Access Area Denial) “dome” in a highly contested environment, i.e. the area and airspace covered by enemy ground based air defence systems.
To be able to do this it requires highly capable onboard electronic warfare systems, and without going into details, Gripen E has a highly advanced EW suite to enable this. Even stealthy aircraft will have a hard time operating within a similar A2AD environment that Gripen is designed to operate in. Gripen’s EW-suite is equally suitable for air-to-air engagements, both for self defence and in an extension, to do electronic attack and jam enemy radars to support other Gripens doing actual combat.
Gripen E has a highly capable and sensitive AESA radar and IRST (IR search and track). The latter is a passive (non-emitting/non revealing) sensor. At the altitude where BVR (Beyond visual range) combat is conducted an IRST has a range comparable to a radar, and it can detect and track even low observable targets at long range, usually with initial guidance from a radar, for instance from an AEW (Airborne Early Warning) aircraft like Saab GlobalEye or Saab Horizon. Remember also that a stealth aircraft only has the really low radar signature in the frontal sector. When viewed from an aspect angle outside the “stealth sector” it is easier to detect, and Gripens will probably engage in a collaborative pair or tactical air unit (TAU) thus enabling targeting from different aspects which enables detection even of stealth aircraft.
Furthermore Gripen is equipped with the MBDA Meteor missile for BVR combat, and the range of the Meteor exceeds by far any current US BVR missile and it is not yet integrated onto US fighters. This provides Gripen with an advantage in BVR combat. And if launched upon, the Gripen E EW-suite including countermeasures will support evading and surviving an incoming hostile missile.