The last couple of years, there has been reports that the Philippine Air Force (PhAF) want the Saab JAS-39 Gripen as its next Multi-Role Fighter (MRF) if ever the Philippines will finally get to buy an MRF. This conclusion seems to have come from the evaluations of various PhAF pilots who have gone out and flown various aircrafts like the Gripen, Mig-29 and F-16 in the past. Nothing is final yet as of this writing, of course, as we still haven’t even finalized the purchase of the FA-50 Lead-In Fighter Trainer (LIFT). However, I thought it was time to take a closer look at the Gripen that the PhAF is leaning towards getting.
There are basically 3 OPERATIONAL types of the Gripen, the first is the JAS-39A/B version. This were the first versions of this model introduced back in 1996. The next model type is the JAS-39C/D version introduced in 2007 with updated Aviation Electronics (Avionics), Helmet Mounted Sight, in-flight refuelling capability and other minor improvements.
The latest model type is the JAS-39E/F version introduced in 2010, and offers a SIGNIFICANT improvement over the previous models. For one it is equipped with a more powerful engine enabling it to go into “Supercruise” (cruise at supersonic speed even without using afterburners) when armed with a light load. It has 40% more fuel capacity enabling it to have significant range improvement; And most importantly it has a much more advanced avionics systems that enable it to compete with even the best aircrafts in operation today.
Continue reading Assessing the Gripen for the Philippine Air Force – July 2013 Part One