F-35A versus Saab Gripen NG

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post15 Mar 2020, 14:14

spazsinbad wrote:All Hail the Conquering GRIPEN 13 Feb 2020 RED FLAG ALASKA?:
Former Swedish Air Force Flight Engineer explains how the Saab Gripen can Dogfight and Win Against (Almost) Any Dissimilar Aircraft
13 Feb 2020 DARIO LEONE

"...‘The only plane that Gripen E should be compared with will be the F-35,’ points out Englund. ‘As the people describing F-35 use to say “They will not even know what hit them”. Gripen E looks just like a Gripen but it is a completely new fighter, with completely new features and capabilities more or less only comparable to the F-35 with the difference that Gripen E is not built with stealth technology even if it has a lower RCS than any other fighter except F-35 and F-22 and probably but not certain, the Russian and Chinese stealth. Gripen will be equipped with a GaN [gallium nitride] based EW-suite which probably will make it a ghost.’"

Source: https://theaviationgeekclub.com/former- ... -aircraft/



Blog quotes a guy who claims to be an engineer on quora, Saab actually re-posted this too Spaz. For those who think Saab has any credibility left.

:lmao:
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Unread post15 Mar 2020, 14:33

optimist wrote:Gee, no wonder airforces are lining up 10 deep to buy them. Even the f-22/35 lose some in exercises. So that would make the gripen the bestest ever



See and I've never understood this. All the fanboys think its some giant conspiracy against Gripen. if its such a world beater it should be winning, and for less money too? so the politicians would be overjoyed. the pilots would love to have more airplanes and the generals would be happy to have such a lethal aircraft,even the ground crew could be double plus 1 good that its so easy to fix. Why isn't it revolutionizing everything it touches?

And yet Slovakia passes. F-16V has more sales.
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Unread post15 Mar 2020, 14:48

I thought you were messing around about SAAB using a blogger to add credibility to their aircraft..You weren't. What we need now is for APA Koop and Goon, to give their endorsement. :doh:
https://saab.com/gripen/news/blog/gripe ... war-games/
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Unread post15 Mar 2020, 17:16

I do not want to bash the Gripen (it is a modern option for countries on a budget). However, I would not take stock in that article or what much of he (Stefan Englund) has said on Quora. Stefan seems like a nice guy, and a proud Swed. But when confronted with questions about 2006 Red Flag, He didn't know details like: what were the ROE? how were the aircraft configured (i.e. tanks or no tanks)?

Here is a quick summary of some of his statements:

"The F16 has for almost half a century been the plane to beat. Since the 70s when it came it has been a success, both as an air superiority fighter due to very good aerodynamics and a very good T/W ratio and also as a striker aircraft due to the high payload it can carry. It is a plane loved not only by the pilots but by most all with some insight in this industry.

Just looking at the specifications of the F16 it seems that it is equal and in some aspects better that the Gripen but nothing can be further from the truth. And this is more or less independed on version of both F16 and the Gripen.

Depending on configuration and version the F16 has an equal or higher T/W rate, but one needs to consider the wing load and the drag too. The Gripen has much lower drag and far lower wing load. The transonic area is much narrower for the Gripen and it can reach supersonic speeds on dry thrust while carrying a full A2A armament and an external fuel tank even for the A version even if it is just on the limit (Mach 1.1) Gripen E Mach 1.2. Even though the Gripen in some aspects lacks the TWR of the F-16 it can match or nearly match the climb rate thanks to low drag. When curving Gripen hardly lose any energy which makes it a serious adversary in any merge against any modern fighter including the Typhoon and the F-22.


The T/W ration might not be impressive on the Gripen but in combination with the extremely good aerodynamics, low drag and low wing load it can turn inside anything in the air today, The F16 is no match.

How about BVR? The latest F16 Block 70 has all the bells and whistles identifying it with modern “4+ gen” fighter and is on some arenas (India) competing with the Gripen E and even seems to win that race. Which only show how little capability is involved in theses affairs compared to politics. The block 70 is a CPR on a plane that no longer can compete with modern fighters in the air superiority arena. It is limited to the NATO armament and will likely not be upgraded to include any development of those. Gripen on the other hand can be configured to almost any armament on the market, NATO or not.

2.30 minutes in the armament flexibility of the Gripen E is described.

In the occasions where they have been flying against each other in exercises as Red Flag and here in Scandinavia the Gripen has no problem holding the F-16 off.

During Red Flag 2006 in Alaska one Gripen A pilot knocked down five F-16 block 50+ during close combat. During that exercise Gripen never lost any areal encounter or failed their mission objectives. It was the only fighter that performed all planned starts, while others were sitting on the ground waiting for the weather to clear up. The evaluation was that Gripens capacity needed to be revaluated. And no disrespect to other pilots, they are equally trained and in a Gripen would be performing equally well.

During a combat exercise with the Royal Norwegain Air Force, 3 Swedish Gripens went up against 5 RNAF F-16's. The Result was 5-0, 5-0, 5-1 after having flown 3 rounds.

However the F-16 is still compatible on the Striker arena, here it can show as a good, robust and reliable striker which for the size can carry a considerable payload, much more that the Gripen. The Gripen can however compensate this with a significant shorter turnaround time, which for a strike mission is never more than 20 minutes, performed by a technician and 5 conscripts in a parking lot somewhere in a pine forest as close to the battlefield as possible. When it comes to reliability and accessibility Gripen has no match on the modern arena. Also here, even if the payload is not as high it can carry almost anything that is available on the market. The Gripen will be able to do this with an app. Of course some testing is required but not in any level compared with other fighters.

Also here Gripen has showed in exercises that it can without AWACs support get battlefield awareness due to the Link 39 P2P system and undetected complete mission objectives and efficiently defend itself if necessary. Gripen is not a stealth aircraft but it is very difficult to detect.

In the last role as reconnaissance fighter Gripens performance in Libya showed that is more than reliable, available and always completes the mission objectives. It came down to Libya as a tactical resource but very soon was lifted up as an strategic. Also here it showed how adaptable the plane is, how easy it is to maintain and is always available. One C130 can carry all the equipment necessary to support four Gripen during a month of overseas missions.

The Gripen is more expensive to purchase than the F-16 but is half the cost to fly. The choice if you have no political bias is a no-brainer in favour of the Gripen.

So how does the Gripen compare to the F-16? It is simply superior. F-16 is an excellent of the shelf fighter if you for some reason can´t afford Gripen and must buy US made, but it is time to put it in a museum. If the customer must buy US I would look at Super Hornet, Super Eagle or if you want to get ripped of the F-35. Yes the F-35 will probably be superior in many aspect but the cost to fly it will kill any defence budget short of the US."

From the link: https://www.quora.com/How-does-the-Saab ... ing-Falcon




Ok, so now in the Leone article: https://theaviationgeekclub.com/former- ... -aircraft/ He goes on to state: "One Gripen pilot knocked down five F-16 Block 50+ during close air combat in Red Flag Alaska."

If the Gripens were Red Air as he said, they most likely flew clean or with one CL tank. The Blue Air USAF Block 50's probably flew with 2 370 gallon tanks, weasel in a can, and 2 or 4 AAM pylons (probably LAU-129). And I can tell you in 18 years of seeing F-16's fly directly over my home, they near always had on 2 370's (the TFS/FS Block 10/30's). Yet, the FIS/FS F-16ADF unit (with a pure Air to Air assignment) were usually equipped with just one CL 300 gallon tank. Even in a minority of instances they flew clean. So it's no surprise if the "Red Air" Gripens did do well because of their lighter load out. But as I said, when asked about the details, he (Stefan) doesn't know or is unable to recall. (It should be noted, that the Quora poster who has a friend/relative in the RTAF (which operates both Gripen and F-16A/ADF) has stated that the jets are basically equally matched and it would come down to the quality of the pilot.)

Granted the Swedish Gripen guys could have been very good pilots, possibly trained with more of an emphasis on A-A than A-G (USAF FS F-16 pilots usually do 2/3 A/G to 1/3 A-A; but that isn't set in stone for every unit). And according to the Norwegian AF CO of the unit that took part in Exercise Polar Cap in late 2004, they bested the Swedish 39's in ACM (see pg 161 of this thread viewtopic.php?f=55&t=11311&start=2400Usually) don't know ROE or aircraft load out though. Yet, Stefan never mentions that. And I'd rather be inclined to believe the CO of a fighter unit vs a simple flight engineer (so he says he was).

Also, he has posted this flawed diagram on Quora:

Incorrect turn assumptions.png



This diagram shows that the jet with one of the worst kinematics, in this case the Gripen, some how has the best turn rates??

Yet in one of Stefan's other posts he goes on to say that the F-22 has better performance in WVR (against the F-35), because of its superior "kinetics". https://www.quora.com/Is-an-F-22-Raptor ... n-the-F-35 I presume he is implying kinematics not kinetics. But why even bring it up in that thread if the jet with one of the worst kinematics magically beats all others according to his turn chart. Shouldn't then kinematics supposedly not even matter in any comparison? Or is the canard on the Gripen somehow a miracle worker?


And:

https://www.quora.com/How-does-the-Swed ... urofighter

"Only speaking about operational versions of Gripen A&C, Gripen has no problem holding off any of the American fighters F18, F16 or F15, the F-22 being the only operational American fighter that can give Gripen any substantial trouble, how Gripen stands against the European fighters such as Typhoon and Rafale I suspect depending on role one or the other have an advantage but it should be rather equal in general. Looking at the fighters vs Gripen one by one starting with the American, results from international exercises shows a pretty clear picture. Below I will not involve F-35 or Gripen E since they are not operational and therefore any comparison is pure speculation.

Against the F16 which has met Gripen most in exercises rather often both during Red Flag but also in Norway, Thailand and European exercises. Even with very fresh Gripen pilots with a low amount of hours Gripen has the upper hand. Gripen A in Red Flag Alaska 2006 showed how superior it can be even with minimum support, limited personnel far from home. Gripen A did not have any air refuel capacity so it was quite an adventure to go from Sweden to Alaska and remain operational at a very high degree.

Gripen first participated in Red Flag 2006 with the Gripen A. With reduced radar and air support Gripens connected their link systems and acted themselves as AWACs, got the battlefield awareness that in some aspects was better than the opponent. With no big effort avoided all ground defence, scored 10 kills the first day including a Typhoon. No losses and they remained undetected, the EW suite showed to be very difficult to burn through. One Gripen pilot knocked down five F-16 block 50+ during close air combat in Red Flag Alaska. And the Gripens never lost any aerial encounter or failed their mission objectives. It was the only fighter that performed all planed starts, while others were sitting on the ground waiting for the weather to clear up. The evaluation was that Gripens capacity needed to be revaluated. Gripen A&C could be favoured as much as 15:1 against the F16. And no disrespect to other fighter pilots with the roles switched they would’ve scored the same.

During a combat exercise with the Royal Norwegian Air Force, 3 Swedish Gripens went up against 5 RNAF F-16's. The Result was 5-0, 5-0, 5-1 after having flown 3 rounds.

F-16 has a higher TWR than Gripen A, but one need to consider drag and wing loading too. The Gripen has much lower drag. And far lower wing loading. It can reach supersonic speeds on dry thrust while carrying a full armament of four AMRAAM's two Sidewinders and an external fuel tank. Even though the Gripen lacks the TWR of the F-16 it can nearly match it in climb rate thanks to low drag.

The difference on the paper might not seem much but looking at battlefield effectiveness it is worlds apart. Gripen is a modern fighter, generations apart from the F16.

Meetings with the F18 is not as common but occurs most frequently during exercises with the Finnish Air Force. BVR none of F16 or F18 come close but it seems that the F18 in a merge is doing quite well at high altitude but that fades with decreasing altitude and below 2000 meters there is no match. I have no scores but I suspect Gripen score a little less against the F18 than the F16 depending on altitude but not with much.

The one that seems able to keep distance is the F15. The F15 also have the advantage to be able to disengage if the situation is unfavourable.

The only F15 vs Gripen encounter I know of was during Loyal Arrow in Sweden, 3 F-15C's from the USAF were intercepted by a single Gripen acting as an aggressor. The result was 2 F-15's shot down and one managed to escape due to better thrust/weight. To the F15s defence it was on the Gripens back yard. The F15 can stay out of a fight with a Gripen, keep it on distance, BVR if they can see it and avoid the meteors, but it is not a wise strategy to engage.

The F-22 is the one fighter that has the upper hand on Gripen. In comparison to other fighters Gripen has among the highest scores against the Raptor, compared with the Typhoon the difference is not big, still the Raptor has the upper hand. For its age it is a more than impressive airplane in many aspects. What affect the Raptor negative in this context is the age of the plane and the need on the sensor suite for upgrade to keep it superior in the air superiority arena. The F-22 is in my point of view the one plane that has a superior upgrade potential if it would be an object to a “Gripen E” equivalent upgrade. Meaning similar but new fuselage, completely new interior and architecture, sensor suite and avionics. By looking at the architecture used on Gripen E a Raptor “NG” upgrade cost would be less than anybody can imagine and it would become a generation 6 potential fighter to a relatively low cost. Probably more or less untouchable, this is not the case anymore with the existing Don’t misunderstand, F-22 is superior or as a Gripen pilot sad at Red Flag 2013, “it works as advertised”. Sad to see that their numbers are limited.

Against the Rafale and Typhoon I have no records but what I know is that Typhoon fighters looked at the Gripen as cannon fodder in Red Flag Alaska but changed their mind very fast and got a lot more humble after a few encounters.

There is no operational fighter that is superior to Gripen except the F-22. But it has limits, it is a small plane and with that it has smaller radar, take less load and fuel. But low cost to fly, maintain and a superior accessibility and turnaround compensate for this a lot.

The Gripen is among the most underestimated fighters flying today, during the Libyan campaign it came in as a tactical recourse but very soon was upgraded to a strategic resource. Also here, no mission was cancelled due to technical issues on the Gripen. And no, it is not invincible, just underestimated.

So above, when I speak of Gripen I just not only mean the plane, it is how it is networked, the unique sensor fusion which give it a superior battlefield awareness, the flexibility, accessibility and other abilities. And I am still just talking about the Gripen A & C, with the C as the only operational versions. There is no fighter except the F-22, operational today that is superior to a networked Gripen. And all those who have flown against it, knows it.

Disclosure: The above statement might seem biast but are based on public records, public reports (testing reports, financial and political records made public, etc.) and forum chatter. Information that anybody can get with some effort."



His comment about the F-18 seems in reverse. Hornets do better at lower altitude generally, plus 2000 meters is nearly 6500ft. Who does DACT at that low level or below, that is generally near KIO altitudes? He also says he doesn't have any records about Gripen vs Typhoon, yet in his interview with Leone he says quite the contrary: " (Gripens) scored 10 kills the first day including a Typhoon" from the link: https://theaviationgeekclub.com/former- ... -aircraft/

According to his chart the Gripen should have an advantage vs Rafale or Typhoon, but he goes on to proclaim they are near equals. A statement which I'm sure Rafale/Typhoon pilots would disagree.
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Unread post15 Mar 2020, 18:27

That rate "chart" seems extremely suspect.
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loke

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Unread post15 Mar 2020, 20:31

XanderCrews wrote:
Blog quotes a guy who claims to be an engineer on quora, Saab actually re-posted this too Spaz. For those who think Saab has any credibility left.

:lmao:

I agree -- it reflects very poorly on Saab to post such nonsense on their blog, and clearly they lose credibility in doing this.
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Unread post16 Mar 2020, 00:25

lbk000 wrote:That rate "chart" seems extremely suspect.



Plus, the 4th Generation Fighters are likely "clean".... :?
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Unread post16 Mar 2020, 06:04

loke wrote:
XanderCrews wrote:
Blog quotes a guy who claims to be an engineer on quora, Saab actually re-posted this too Spaz. For those who think Saab has any credibility left.

:lmao:

I agree -- it reflects very poorly on Saab to post such nonsense on their blog, and clearly they lose credibility in doing this.


What kills me about all this is that if it was true we would have heard it about. in many different places as well, and Saab who's never quiet on stuff like this waited to talk about it years later after someone else blogged what they read on quora?

If any of it was true there would be some real "come to jesus" moments about Red Flag. its meant to be a challenging and large scale environment, the idea that the new kids brought in light fighters and walloped everyone without a single loss is a joke, and if it happened, there would be some serious re-evaluations about the entire endeavor. The last major upset at Red Flag was when the F-22s showed up and started annihilating everyone. thats when you got lots of stories throughout the late 2000s about F-22s crushing aggressors and frustration across everyone who encountered one. we didn't hear about the Gripen doing this at all until a decade later??

Lastly the jig is up on the Gripen, We have F-16 guys and Typhoon guys that know how to beat and have commented on it because it simply has a power disparity and very little room for error. this are all well known things, this stuff tends to get out and circulate and if you look and listen long enough it boils to the surface. It went into service in 1996 I think we have its measure.

We literally know more inside information about the F-35 vs F-16 CLAW test "dogfight" that was classified but leaked, than we do of Gripen's unknown and undeafeated success at red flag, and not even Saab mentioned it until some guy (who has facts twisted in nearly every single aspect and on every other aircraft too) talked on the internet about it. and then a blog picked it up...

Its disgusting. But I guess its good for me, as I've been contending theyre a propaganda arm that happens to sell airplanes, rather than the reverse like more aircraft companies.

We could probably spend an entire day complaining about this "imaginative fanboy" but this just cracked me up to no end:

The Gripen is more expensive to purchase than the F-16 but is half the cost to fly. The choice if you have no political bias is a no-brainer in favour of the Gripen.

So how does the Gripen compare to the F-16? It is simply superior. F-16 is an excellent of the shelf fighter if you for some reason can´t afford Gripen and must buy US made


Gripens are more expensive than F-16s... somehow cost less to operate though.

Theres a lot of things where he's taken the saab line and extrapolated on them. for example the turnaround time. Let me let you in on a little secret. Even if a helicopter providing you support has to fly back 10 minutes, rearm for 10 minutes, and then fly back-- thats 30 minutes that its gone. guess how long 30 minutes is in war? It doesn't matter how fast your turnaround time is because thats only a fraction of the time the airplane is off station total. having a persistent aircraft with lots of weapons is why the A-10 is really popular. The Turnaround time as I've discussed before is a classic "zig zag" metric to make up for a Gripen Shortcoming.

It doesn't have as many pylons, or capacity...

"yes but the turnaround time is super fast!!"

"Yes Salesman Sven with fewer pylons to load, loading does indeed go faster. :roll: "

You have to land and taxi to the marshalling area etc. theres really just no substitute for being there NOW and with ordnance NOW. I don't care if the reload time is 60 seconds if you have to fly an hour away, it kills the entire argument. The area of operations has to be extremely small. like say Israel, which did a great job turning jets, and they don't even own Gripens.

This engineer should know its not the tool that made it happen it was the tool handlers. well Trained ordies matter more than the aircraft type.

Image

hey I don't suppose anyone has the link of this fascinating 10 minute load? where the video? I've never seen it.

good god I'm still talking about this? I need to get to sleep so I can wake up tomorrow for the American Quarantine

Image

because no one at red flag has ever handled a light fighter before!!
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Unread post16 Mar 2020, 07:55

About that turn rates chart...
Yeah, it's BS and nonsense.
Altitude? How much fuel? Weapons?

And judging by some of the turn rate numbers of some jets, I doubt all of them were compared at the same altitudes, or at least, they don't seem to be have been compared with the same/equivalent weapon loads and fuel.

The origin of the chart AFAIK, is this "document" here, written by this person with the name of David Archibald: https://www.aph.gov.au/DocumentStore.as ... bId=407837

You can find this file and others of the same kind here:
https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Bu ... ubmissions

From what I know, this David Archibald fella is basically the australian Pierre Sprey, and, Carlo Kopp's soulmate lol
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Unread post16 Mar 2020, 09:40

Submissions from the nutters? Always a good laugh.
(the rest from 2012, not a bad walk down memory lane https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Bu ... 1/subs.htm )

Here is a gripen chart on page 5. It is from RepSim in 2012, on the Harpoon 3 sim. They did the unofficial Stillion rand that got the attention..
https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Bu ... s/sub5.pdf


You will note that gripen is great and the rest are pigs :mrgreen:
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Unread post16 Mar 2020, 09:59

ricnunes wrote:@linkomart,

I believe that everything you said basically confirms what I've said earlier on.


Regarding the part which you say "Gripen NG, Gripen E to Norway and Gripen E today are not the same", yes I can indeed agree with that.
But based on the the specs publicly available it seems that the "Gripen NG" and "Gripen E to Norway" were meant to be basically lighter weight versions of the "Gripen E today".
BTW, are you saying that the "Gripen NG" and the "Gripen E to Norway" are not the same? If yes, in which way?


The way I have it, from a engineering point of view, NG is (was?) studies to how to evolve Gripen in the future (hence NG=Next Generation) NG studies have been on a lot of technical stuff like more fuel, Different Radars, EW systems and so on. Can't go in to details, partly because I can not find any official documents about it, (and therefore can not talk about it), partly because I don't know everything.

So there is ONE NG that is the same as the E to Norway, but not all of them, hopefully I made myself clear.
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Unread post16 Mar 2020, 10:07

optimist wrote:

You will note that gripen is great and the rest are pigs :mrgreen:


:lmao:
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Unread post16 Mar 2020, 12:04

Corsair1963 wrote:
optimist wrote:

You will note that gripen is great and the rest are pigs :mrgreen:


:lmao:

Should I email it to SAAB news blog? Their PR guys could paint a nice picture of the submission statement to the Australian parliament. Where the LER of the Gripen was 1:2 and the F-22 was just 0.1 more, at 1:2.1 at umpteen times the cost. Statistically it puts the Gripen and F-22 at the same level.

The lowly Super Hornet had 8:1 SU loss.The F-35 was also outgunned at 2.4:1 SU loss. The LER of the Gripen is 5 times better than the F-35 and 16 times better than the Super Hornet... It's a beast. I should at least post it on BF4C
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Unread post16 Mar 2020, 14:00

How would you rate the Gripen in the following categories:

A. Instantaneous Turn rates
B. Sustained turn rates
C. Acceleration
D. Climb rate
E. Range

“Without mentioning specific numbers since this would be classified I would like to expand the question a bit. We have built Gripen to achieve the highest possible operational effect in a number of scenarios defined by our customers. To do this we have to balance a number of factors such as platform performance, sensor performance, weapon performance, avionics, Human Machine Interface etc. The classic metaphor stating that a chain isn’t stronger than its weakest link is relevant for fighters as well! So the answer would be; platform performance is as good as or better than what is needed to reach the high overall operational effect demand of a future fighter.”

(Though Jonas avoids answering this question directly I would like to quote from this article “Gripen is a bit of an unknown quantity against modern air superiority machines because it takes a fundamentally different approach to survivability. Whilst in traditional DACT exercises, Typhoon pilots have often referred to the Gripen as ‘cannon-fodder’ due to its inferior thrust-to-weight ratio, speed, agility and armament, in the few cases where the Gripen has ‘come to play’ with its full electronic warfare capabilities, it has given Typhoons very nasty shocks. [...] These EW capabilities are so highly classified that there is simply no way to assess their effectiveness in the public domain. Having said that, RAF pilots who I have talked to with experience of the Saab fighter’s EW teeth first hand say that the ability of the aircraft to get alarmingly close without detection thanks entirely to EW is very impressive.”


https://hushkit.net/2019/03/18/intervie ... pen-pilot/
quoting:
https://hushkit.net/2016/03/17/su-35-ve ... tin-bronk/

The Swiss leaks stated "The EW suite can be mentioned among the strong points of Gripen". There is also a figure showing that on a scale from 0 to 9 the Gripen C EW suite was just below 8. Apart from the Swiss leaks and anectodes like the one from Mr. Bronk I don't think we will be able to learn much more about the EW suite of gripen.

I would argue that for a 4.5 gen fighter the quality of the sensors, and the quality of the EW suite is more important than turn rates. The Skyward IRST is a further development of the well regarded PIRATE IRST from the Typhoon; the AESA radar developed with Leonardo should also be pretty decent compared to the Russian gear. The PAWS-2 IR sensors from Elbit are considered to be pretty good as well. Little is known about the Gripen Echo EW suite however unless they screw up something it should be a significant improvement of the already decent EW suite in the Charlie.

It is not the best, not the fastest, not the biggest, or the most "energetic" but I still think Gripen E should not be underestimated if the opponent has Russian gear only. Sweden will never fight a Western country and thus to Sweden the comparison with Western fighters is really a moot point.

For Saab it is different of course, if they want to sell the birds to other countries. IMHO they should forget about Finland and Canada, and rather focus on countries in Asia like Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, etc; and South America (especially support from Gripen partner Brazil could give Gripen a political advantage in some SA countries).
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Unread post16 Mar 2020, 20:03

Although its capabilities are classified, the MFS-EW is thought to be capable of detecting and geo-locating RF signals across a waveband of at least 2-18GHz. This may have been increased downwards to 0.5GHz and upwards to 40GHz. The downward extension would allow the aircraft to detect emissions from low-band groundbased air surveillance radars: Russia’s Almaz-Antey 55Zh6ME Nebo-ME air surveillance complex includes a radar transmitting in a VHF waveband. Such frequencies are useful in detecting aircraft with low radar cross-sections. While they may not be able to provide an accurate enough fix to guide a SAM or AAM to a target, it would give the user an idea of the target’s location and track.

Extending the waveband to 40GHz would allow the MFS-EW to detect signals transmitting in the so-called millimetre waveband of 30GHz and upwards. These wavebands are increasingly being used for weapons guidance and fire control as they can track a target with a high degree of precision, using comparatively small antennas easy to install in missile airframes.

Wider band
‘We can see threats and counter them in a much wider frequency band than before,’ noted Kristoffer Broqvist, project manager for survivability and EW for the Gripen-E at Sweden’s Defence Materiel Administration. Broqvist is presenting a paper entitled ‘Achieving the Operational Goals of the Gripen-E EW System’ at this year’s AOC EW Europe conference. Compared to the Saab EWS-39 EW system equipping previous marques of Gripen, notably the JAS-39C/D, he stated that the MFS-EW can ‘counter a lot more RF threats simultaneously’. Thanks to the high effective radiated power (ERP) of the MFS-EW, it can achieve ‘much shorter burn-through ranges for threat radars’. The ERP is the measurement of how much jamming power will end up at the jammer’s target. RF signals lose their strength the further away they travel from their source, much as a torch is dimmer when viewed from several metres away, compared to pressing one’s eye up against the bulb. Understandably it is imperative that the jamming signal is as strong as possible at the targeted emitter. The burn-through range is the distance from a targeted radar at which jamming is no longer effective. This means any object within the burn-though range can be seen. Put simply, the shorter a jammer’s burn-through range, the closer an aircraft can get to the radar while concealed behind its cloak of jamming. Broqvist continued that the MFS-EW employs an AESA architecture. The attributes of AESA are well documented in the radar world. Here arrays comprise multitudes of transmit/receive modules. These act as miniature individual radars, and can be used electronically, rather than physically, to steer a radar’s transmissions, which also allow the radar to rapidly switch between different tasks such as air-to-air or air-to-surface surveillance, or perform two or more modes simultaneously. In the EW world, AESA allows systems to engage several threats simultaneously. These could include a fire-control and groundbased surveillance radar, for instance. Given the beam-steering capabilities offered by AESA, the MFS-EW may be able to electronically direct its jamming in the best way to jam a threat while allowing the aircraft to remain beyond the radar’s line of sight, its ‘main lobe’ in EW jargon. This can be achieved by directing jamming into the radar’s sidelobes. All radars produce a fan-like pattern of transmissions which flank either side of the main lobe, which is used for detecting and tracking a target. Directing jamming into the sidelobes allows electronic attack to be performed without the aircraft having to expose itself to the radar’s main lobe, and hence detection.

Targeting techniques
Cooperative targeting techniques are a key arrow in the MFS-EW’s quiver, allowing ‘coordinated jamming’ said Broqvist: ‘Several Gripen-Es can use their MFS-EW apparatus to jam the same threat with cooperative jamming techniques.’ The level of threat direction finding and geolocation detail provided by the MFS-EW will allow it to ‘act as a targeting sensor in a way that is not possible with the Gripen-C/D’. Consequently, highly detailed co-ordinates of an electronic threat could be gathered by the MFS-EW of sufficient quality to allow that threat to be engaged kinetically, as well as electronically.

https://mags.shephardmedia.com/Show%20D ... -16_v2.pdf
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