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    Demonstration of NATO Ready Status by Sweden’s Agile JAS 39 Gripen Jets

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    When Swedish JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets touched down on a civilian highway, it was a display of both prowess and pragmatism—a testament to Sweden’s enduring strategy of agile combat deployment and a demonstration of the country’s enhanced military readiness as the newest member of NATO.

    In a recently released video by the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, the Gripens’ precision in using makeshift runways showcased how Sweden’s premier multirole fighter jet could dominate the skies while relying on minimal ground support.

    A capability that is not only impressive but also strategically vital given the contemporary European security landscape.

    The Gripen, a fourth-generation fighter, has been designed from the outset to operate from remote bases and even civilian infrastructures in times of war.

    With reinforced landing gear and low maintenance requirements, the aircraft is a paragon of operational flexibility.

    The landing on a public road wasn’t a one-off stunt but rather a part of regular training, pointing to a broader strategic concept that Sweden has cultivated for decades.

    “Three months into our NATO membership, I’d say Sweden is stronger and safer. And the Alliance is also stronger with us as an Ally, especially here in northern Europe,” Brig. Gen.

    Tommy Petersson, deputy commander of the Swedish Air Force, remarked. “This is a very long tradition… We started in the 60s to design the system… And this is a part of that. So, I say it’s a part of our DNA.”

    Sweden is not alone in practicing such remote operations. In August 2021, the United States Air Force’s 354th Fighter Squadron and the Michigan Air National Guard’s 127 Wing landed four A-10 Thunderbolt IIs on a Michigan state highway, part of a large-scale exercise dubbed Northern Strike 21.

    Moreover, the UK’s Royal Air Force has tested the capabilities of its Eurofighter Typhoons to operate from solitary roads in Finland and is considering similar functionality for the F-35Bs.

    However, what sets the Gripen apart is not just its nimble operations. The jet, which entered service with the Swedish Air Force in 1997, has proven to be a potent deterrent, especially with an eye toward Russia.

    The Gripen’s current modern variants, the C- and E-series, are set to receive further upgrades, ensuring their relevance into the mid-2030s.

    “Gripen C/D is the backbone of the Swedish Armed Forces today and will continue to be for many years to come, so this is an important order where we will ensure the continued operation and operational relevance of Gripen C/D,” stated Jonas Hjelm, head of Saab’s Aeronautics business area in 2002.

    The latest upgrade includes a new launch system for air-to-air missiles and countermeasure pods, making the fighters even more formidable.

    Compatible with all missile types the aircraft employs—including the AIM-9 Sidewinder and the AIM-120 AMRAAM—this new system ensures that the Gripen will remain a crucial asset in Sweden’s defense arsenal.

    Relevant articles:

    What Makes Sweden’s JAS 39 Gripen Fighter Truly Special, The National InterestJAS 39 Gripen: What Makes This Fighter Jet from Sweden Truly Incredible, The National Interest

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