Saab have presented a new variant of Gripen, the ‘Aggressor’ at DSEI in London this week.

The company say the Aggressor is based on the ‘proven Gripen C-series and is the ultimate platform for the adversary air combat training market’.

“Gripen Aggressor brings a unique mix of high performance, mission flexibility and availability combined with a low life cycle cost.”

There is a growing segment within the adversary air combat training market for highly advanced aggressor capabilities to be able to perform realistic combat training. Saab rather enthusiastically say that the Aggressor provides an exceptional, dissimilar opponent aircraft system against which pilots will sharpen and refine their combat skills ‘so as to fight and win against an advanced enemy threat’.

“There is a major difference in the capabilities provided by the aggressors on the market today and what the need is for the coming years. In order to train as you fight, you need to fly advanced combat tactics against peer and near peer opponents like the Gripen Aggressor. Essentially world class pilots need to train against world class opponents and that is the Aggressor”, says Richard Smith, head of Gripen marketing & sales at Saab.

The company state in a release:

“Gripen Aggressor is based on the proven Gripen C-series fighter weapon system, but has been customised for the aggressor role. It has all the renowned handling and flight characteristics associated with the Gripen C and its advanced sensor and datalink capabilities, but will not carry live armament.

The Gripen C-series is in-service across the world including NATO members and has a firm development plan with on-going enhancements in hand.”

An aggressor, or adversary, aircraft, is used to act as an opposing force in advanced military combat training. Aggressor squadrons use enemy tactics, techniques, and procedures to provide a realistic environment for the fighter pilots to train against.

Saab sees potential for the platform as a high-level aggressor option within both the United States Air Force’s Adversary Air (ADAIR) and UK MOD’s Air Support to Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) requirements, and wherever users look to prepare pilots for the challenges of sophisticated modern air combat.


  1. So could Gripens replace the current Hawk T1’s in the “aggressor” role in the Royal Navy’s 736 squadron ?
    The aircraft will need replacing in the next few years and 30% of the components of each Gripen are made in the UK which is a bonus.

  2. This would be an extremely good choice to train against but what I would say is… Leave in the capability to fire live ordinance as the fleet could also be used as a low cost back up force similar to the old Auxiliary Air Force of yesteryear!

    Hope this is pulled off!!

  3. I don’t. I can think of a lot of better ways to spend limited cash on he RAF. Dedicated aggressor squadrons are low down the priority list. We can achieve dissimilar air combat training by flying against other NATO nations. The US might look at the gripen. The existing aggressor airframes are tired… I wonder how well the Gripen would simulate SU35s, anyway.

  4. Greetings from Sweden I’m going to use google translator from an text published in one of swedens major newspaper the article is here

    I realize ( me writing not wiseman that the article here on ukdefence is about the aggressor plane but it’s still good stuff on the JAS 39 gripen from one off the few that acctually flies some off them).

    That’s why Gripen hits everyone in a Top Gun fight

    The general asked me when we were presented if I was happy to fly the Gripen. I said that I really was and exemplified it because I never lost a basketball battle against a US-based fighter plane and then I practiced against all but F-22.
    Basketball battles may not be the most modern way to fight aircraft, but it is still a classic measure of pilots on how “good” an aircraft is. (For those who are unfamiliar with the term, warfare is the kind of air fight the movie “Top Gun” tries to imitate)
    A few hours later, we had landed after trying some Close Air Support and also a short runway on the Vidsel Base in bad weather. A lyric general could report to his Swedish counterpart that we landed out in the woods and stayed for over 300 meters.
    As a fighting game, Jas 39 is a great aircraft to fly – for the simple reason you do not have to spend so much energy to fly and what you do not like to fly you can focus on fighting. In a few minutes in the simulator you can easily learn someone who never spaked an aircraft to land in the worst possible weather.
    Just the ease of use and the situational perception that computer systems offer are usually the first foreign pilots to point out when they try Jas 39. The other is how unbelievable it is that a small country like Sweden succeeds in producing something that is of high quality. It is something we will be extremely proud of in Sweden and something that has yielded huge returns in both research and business.
    The first acquisition in 1982 (Jas 39A) was made with specification based on the prevailing environmental situation. In the mid 90’s an updated variant (39C) of the same basic aircraft was acquired, but now with the possibility of international operations which the now-wrecked Jas 39A had very hard for.
    Just over 10 years ago, we had a list of over 100 more serious points that prevented effective use in operations like Libya. It had been impossible to implement. In April, the Air Force received the latest software update of Jas 39C, which improves multiple features in the aircraft. Above all, the new European hunting robot Meteor is introduced as Sweden is the first in the world.
    The robot itself raises the threshold for a military attack on Sweden and relieves many of the limitations the aircraft actually has.
    Yoke 39 is basically a very small fighter plane, which imposes limitations on the range, speed and, above all, the load of weapons that can be brought about. Earlier, when Sweden had 300 aircraft and over 30 aerodromes, this was no problem.
    Today, with less than 100 aircraft and five flight bases, and a significantly larger operating area, it’s a problem.
    Wednesday’s roll-out in Linköping of the new Jas 39E did not happen one day late. It is an aircraft that remedies several of the weaknesses that today’s platform has built in itself because of how the world looked like in 1982.
    When the 2012 parliament decided to acquire Jack 39E, 60 were ordered. That was the number the Armed Forces said was an absolute minimum acquisition, provided these were supplemented with long-range air defense.
    Since 2012, the security situation in our world and, in particular, the neighborhood has changed radically to the worse. There are still 60 aircraft ordered and some long-range air defense has not been. That every 39E will require components to be removed from dismantled 39C also removes the political freedom of action to maintain a higher total number of aircraft, while the Air Force’s numerals decrease in the time when uncertainty is at its highest.
    There are things that neither Jas 39 Gripen’s user friendliness nor the skill of our pilots will be able to remedy.
    Carl BergqvistCarl Bergqvist
    [email protected]

    Bigger – and better
    Jas 39E, with its new major engine, will not only be able to fly faster, but also take more load, which has been one of the biggest constraints with the old aircraft.
    The slightly larger body also holds more fuel, which increases the range and stamina. At the same time, the aircraft will get a whole new radar that will fully be able to use the new Meteor hunting robot at the same time as, for example, land targets can be followed.
    Hunting robots Meteor
    Meteor is a brand new European hunting robot that will be world leader in its very long range and advanced targeting and data linking.
    Here is Jas 39C first out with the robot and while other European aircraft get the robot first in a few years. The robot’s engine also remedies the weaknesses of the Jas 39C with top speed.
    The telecommunications system provides increased survival
    Already Jas 39C has a telecoms system that has attracted some attention to international exercises and appreciation for both Swedish and foreign pilots.
    In Jas 39E, the telecoms system with its disturbances and countermeasures is one of the major upgrading areas to increase survival in combat, rather than focusing on expensive stealth technology.


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