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JAS39 Gripen: The Ultimate Nordic Warbird

The JAS39 Gripen is the latest multirole jet fighter developed by Saab and fielded by the Swedish air force. Striking not only in appearance but also in its capability, the Gripen will soon represent the pinnacle of Swedish military aviation technology, and today we’ll be talking about it!

JAS39 Gripen: A Jet Fighter for Sweden and Britain at Rank VIII


  • Superior maneuverability.
  • Mach 2 top speed.
  • Versatile weapon loadouts.
  • Countermeasures.
Vehicle History

By the early 1980s, it became increasingly clear that the Saab 37 Viggen was reaching the limits of its performance envelope and that a new aircraft would have to be procured to fill its role. As a result, the Swedish government released a set of requirements, demanding that a replacement design mustn’t exceed the cost of a Viggen while drastically cutting its weight, while at the same time offering an increased payload. As the new aircraft was intended to perform a wide range of duties, the future aircraft received a matching designation: JAS, reflecting its air combat, strike and reconnaissance capabilities.

Official work on the project began in 1983 with Saab leading a joint venture of several Swedish defense equipment manufacturers. Receiving the name ‘Gripen’ at the start of development, the first prototype of the aircraft undertook its maiden flight in 1988. After ironing out some design flaws, the JAS39 Gripen entered mass production and was subsequently commissioned into service with the Swedish air force in 1994. Since its introduction, the Gripen also enjoyed some popularity with foreign operators, being selected by South Africa, Brazil, Thailand, Hungary and the Czech Republic as the successor to their outdated fighter fleets. Being a modern jet fighter and seeing continuous development since its introduction, the Gripen remains in service with all of these operators to this date.


Meet the JAS39 Gripen!

Welcome to the JAS39 Gripen, the latest multirole jet fighter operated by the Swedish Air Force and is set to become the most advanced aircraft to arrive at the top ranks of both the Swedish and the British aircraft tree (in the form of the South African variant) in the next major update, “Air Superiority”. Possessing not only excellent flight characteristics but also a very versatile arsenal, the JAS39 is sure to quickly become a firm favorite if you value flexibility as a key characteristic in your aircraft. Let’s take a look!

Representing a further development of the design philosophy of the preceding Viggen, the JAS39 incorporates some incredible innovations which make it clearly stand out from its predecessor while at the same time reducing its overall size and weight. For instance, although the Gripen also prominently features the use of canards, unlike on the Viggen, the ones found on the JAS39 are fully powered and thus substantially improve the aircraft’s handling characteristics, especially at extremely high and low speeds. Speaking of speed, the Gripen can attain a top speed of 1,900 km/h at high altitudes thanks to its light airframe and powerful RM12 turbofan engine. As a result, you’ll be able to quickly get into the heat of battle and won’t need to fear being outrun by your opponents if they decide to break off from the engagement.

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Talking about engagements however, what does the Gripen bring to the fight? The answer to that question depends on the fight that you’ll be preparing your Gripen for! As a baseline, the JAS39 comes fitted with an integrated 27 mm Akan m/85 autocannon which can effectively be used against both aerial and ground targets, provided the correct ammunition is being used for each target type.

Interesting: In the absence of a thrust reverser and to decrease the stopping distance during landing, Swedish engineers made clever use of the Gripen’s canards by allowing them to be rotated nearly 90° to act as additional air brakes after touchdown.

For intercepting aircraft, the Swedish version of the Gripen can be equipped with RB 74 and RB 74(M) air-to-air missiles for close combat, and the RB 71(DF) for longer ranges. The South African JAS39C in the British line carries AIM-9L and AIM-9M missiles for the closer ranges, as well as the Skyflash for long range. Additional countermeasure pods can be mounted under the wings, and also on the same pylon as your short range AAMs! If the situation calls for some ground strike action, the Litening II targeting pod allows the Gripen to use GBU-12, GBU-16, GBU-10, and GBU-24 laser guided bombs. JAS39C pilots can also equip AGM-65B Maverick missiles, while the JAS39A uses the AGM-65A (Designated as the RB 75). The Swedish version can also be equipped with unguided rockets, but bombs will be available for both versions: Mk.82 and Mk.83 for the JAS39C, and Mk.82 and domestic m/71 120 kg bombs for the Swedish JAS39A.

In your matches by Scott, Community Manager: Whilst you don’t have the most advanced longer range missiles when compared to some of your competition, getting up close and personal is where the Gripen will excel with its AIM-9Ms. That's not to say the Skyflash won't be useful in certain longer range situations though. You have a lot of countermeasures to use to your advantage as well as a solid amount of 27 mm cannon ammo. Avoid the initial head on contacts near the start of the match as much as possible. Once you are in the heat of closer quarters combat, very few aircraft will offer you a hard time in dogfights. Your low speed maneuverability is almost second to none.

The Gripen will soon be making its way to War Thunder in the “Air Superiority” major update. Besides the early Swedish JAS39A production variant, an export modification of this aircraft operated by the South African air force, designated JAS39C, will also be added to the British aircraft tree. In the meantime, make sure to stay tuned to the news for the latest information regarding the upcoming update!

You can greatly speed up the research of the British JAS39 Gripen with this pack:

F-4J(UK) Phantom II Pack
F-4J(UK) Pack
The Kit Includes:
  • F-4J(UK) Phantom II (Rank VII, Britain)
  • Premium account for 20 days
  • 2500 Golden Eagles

You can greatly speed up the research of the Swedish JAS39 Gripen with this pack:

Saab J35XS Pack
J35XS Pack
The Kit Includes:
  • Saab J35XS (Rank VII, Sweden)
  • Premium account for 20 days
  • 2500 Golden Eagles
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