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Saab Global

Gripen E's successful change to lithium-ion batteries

2 min read

The key to modern warfare is rapid adaptability – maintaining technological superiority over challenging adversaries. Gripen E’s innovative avionics system allows rapid upgrades of both software and hardware.  A recent example of that is a successful change to lithium-ion batteries.

To adapt to changing demands a fighter must be flexible, adaptable, continuously evolving, and benefit from the technological advances and possibilities that the future will present.

Equipped with a game changing avionics architecture, Gripen E's design allows it to be upgraded and updated in very short time frames. New functionality can be swiftly added without compromising the availability of the aircraft. Existing algorithms and hardware such as processors, weaponry and structural parts can be rapidly replaced or changed with a high degree of control for each customer nation.

The most recent example of a hardware change in Gripen E is the change of the main and emergency battery for Gripen E, from three thermo batteries to two Li-Ion batteries. A change that reduces the weight of the aircraft as well as the maintenance cost for the customers.

This successful change further improves Gripen’s redundancy and robustness. Photo: Saab

"This successful change, that we have done together with our customer, further improves Gripen’s redundancy and robustness. It is this type of new business that we will see in the future, i.e. that we together with our customer further develop our systems and products," Johan Segertoft, Head of business unit Gripen, Saab.

These new 24 volt, 36 amp-hour batteries, designed specifically for the Gripen E-series by EaglePicher, feature extreme low- temperature capability and extended operational cycle life for elongated time on wing and reduced maintenance. The batteries include integrated battery charging and advanced performance power electronics technology as well as integrated battery management system with bi-directional communications bus enabling enhanced pilot and maintenance situational awareness.

The actual cell used in the Saab battery. Photo: EaglePicher

"We are introducing a new modern technology in Gripen that creates growth potential. The battery technology is developing at a rapid pace, and there we have traction from the hugely growing electric car market, which will ensure continued development in the area," says Johan Segertoft.