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    Swedish Gripen Jets: Designed to Counter Russian Air Defenses

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    Swedish jets, specifically the Gripen developed by Saab AB, are tailored to counter Russian air defenses. This aircraft provides a unique combat edge, conceived with an in-depth comprehension of potential Eastern threats from the Cold War era.

    Importantly, it was designed with the specific adversary in mind: as British defence think tank RUSI explains, the plane “is explicitly designed to counter Russian SAMs [surface-to-air missile systems] and fast jets by flying very low and having an internal electronic warfare suite, and to be easy to maintain and operate from dispersed bases with mobile teams in vehicles”.

    In contrast to the American F-16, the Gripen offers capabilities ideal for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

    Its design allows for operations from improvised airfields, crucial due to the frequent targeting of Ukrainian bases by Russian troops.

    The Gripen can swiftly take off and land on damaged runways or makeshift strips on roads, reducing the vulnerability to heavy casualties from a single strike.

    One of the strongest endorsements for the Gripen’s suitability came from none other than the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who in a press conference last August with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky referred to the Gripen as “the pride of Sweden” and expressed his belief that “Gripen can significantly enhance our security and freedom”.

    Gripen is a single-seat, single-engine fighter jet optimized specifically for Sweden. It has a slim profile, delta-shaped wings, and large canards just below the cockpit.

    The older Gripen C, the model most likely to be sent to Ukraine, is powered by the Volvo RM12 afterburning turbofan engine, reducing reliance on foreign suppliers, it stands as an economically viable option for Ukraine, whose military spending is under immense strain.

    Its capacity to carry advanced weapons like the Meteor air-to-air missile provides an edge over adversaries, potentially neutralizing some of the threats posed by Russian air defenses.

    Sweden’s potential contribution of the Gripen jets could have far-reaching effects beyond just tactical advantages for Ukraine.

    It would serve as a strong symbol of Western unity and solidarity with a nation facing adversity, boosting the morale of Ukrainian forces and its citizens.

    The choice by Sweden to potentially supply the JAS 39 Gripen to Ukraine could prove to be a significant strategic shift.

    It indicates a departure from Sweden’s traditional military neutrality and demonstrates the country’s determination in the face of regional challenges.

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    Relevant articles:
    The Swedish fighter plane that could make a difference in Ukraine
    All About the Gripen, Sweden’s Fighter Jet That Ukraine Might Get
    Sweden edges closer to sending Gripen fighter jets to Ukraine – POLITICO, politico.eu, Oct 17, 2023
    Sweden says it’ll consider sending Gripens to Ukraine only after NATO membership, Breaking Defense, Oct 6, 2023

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