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Saab JAS 39 Gripen

Designed and the developed by the Swedish aerospace company, Saab, the Gripen is a lightweight multirole fighter currently in service in the Swedish, Hungarian, Czech, and South African Airforces. The Royal Thai Air Force will also be operating them by 2011. The Gripen has a canard and delta wing combination. The canard wings, if you don't know, are the little triangular wings on the front of the plane. This wings are used to increase maneuverability reduced by Gripen's delta-wing design.

Overview...

The Gripen's wing design enables the aircraft to be faster, have a larger payload, and a longer range. This design is also seen in many other modern aircraft like the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale. The Gripen has a built-in eletronic warfare unit so it can load more ordance without losing its self defence capabilities.

The Gripen can operate on any runway longer than 800 m with low maintenance and operating costs. These features allow the Gripen to land on and take off on public roads, which means that the Gripen can operate even if the air force does not have air superiority. This was a requirement by the Swedish military, which, during the Cold War, feared that their defense forces will be overrunned by Soviet forces. As a result, they placed military supply centers all over the country so even if military installations were destroyed, the Swedish military could still maintain a least a shred of combat capabilities and fight back. The Gripen's expeditionary capabilities allow this plane to land, resupply, and takeoff on roads with these supply centers and continue the fight.

Nowadays, this unique feature is (effectively) put to a different use; peacekeeping missions worldwide.

Specifications...

General characteristics
  • Crew: 1 (2 for JAS 39B/D)
  • Length: 14.1 m (46 ft 3 in)
  • Wingspan: 8.4 m (27 ft 7 in)
  • Height: 4.5 m (14 ft 9 in)
  • Wing area: 30.0 m² (323 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 5,700 kg (14,600 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 8,500 kg (18,700 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 14,000 kg (31,000 lb)
  • Powerplant:Volvo Aero RM12 afterburning turbofan
    • Dry thrust: 54 kN (12,100 lbf)
    • Thrust with afterburner: 80.5 kN (18,100 lbf)
  • Wheel track: 2.4 m (7 ft 10 in)
  • Length (two-seater): 14.8 m (48 ft 5 in)

Performance

  • Maximum speed:
    • At altitude: Mach 2 (2,470 km/h, 1,372 mph)
  • Combat radius: 800 km (500 mi, 432 nmi)
  • Ferry range: 3,200 km (2,000 mi) with drop tanks
  • Service ceiling: 15,240 m (50,000 ft)
  • Wing loading: 336 kg/m² (68.8 lb/ft²)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.97

Armament

  • 1 × 27 mm Mauser BK-27 cannon 120 rounds
  • 6 × Rb.74 (AIM-9) or Rb 98 (IRIS-T)
  • 4 × Rb.99 (AIM-120) or MICA
  • 4 x Rb.71 (Skyflash) or Meteor
  • 4 x Rb.75
  • 2 x KEPD.350
  • 4 x GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bomb
  • 4 x rocket pods 13.5 cm rockets
  • 2 x Rbs.15F anti-ship missile
  • 2 x Bk.90 cluster bomb
  • 8 x Mark 82 bombs
  • 1 x ALQ-TLS ECM pod

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