Stockholm’s Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) plans to markedly increase flight-testing of the Saab Gripen E within the coming weeks, ahead of the fighter’s entry into service with the Swedish air force next year.

Two test-roled Gripen Es are currently is use with the FMV at Malmen air base near the company’s Linkoping final assembly site, with the lead example having been transferred last November.

Gripen E

Source: Saab

Sweden’s FMV currently has two Gripen Es in test, with more due to follow within weeks

“The third aircraft in two weeks will do customer factory acceptance test flights, and hopefully two weeks later we will receive number four,” FMV project test pilot Joakim Wengelin told journalists on 20 May. “After the summer we will be up to five or six.”

While “we are a little behind the schedule when it comes to deliveries”, Wengelin notes: “system-wise, it is better than the [Gripen] C/D today”.

Activities to date have included general performance and sensor testing, along with supporting pilot training for the Swedish air force. Other current focus areas for Saab’s Gripen E flight-test programme include weapons integration tasks.

Saab air domain operations advisor Jussi Halmetoja notes that the Gripen E’s capabilities include “five major antennas, 40 apertures around the aircraft for EW [electronic warfare] and hundreds of countermeasures”. It also has in-built signals and communications intelligence functions, and is able to perform stand-off jamming of enemy radars.

The new model recently took part in an EW exercise staged from Satenas air base, during which it “excelled”, says Johan Segertoft, Saab’s head of Gripen.

Deliveries under the Swedish air force’s 60-aircraft order will begin to its F7 Wing at Satenas during 2025. Stockholm also plans to retain around 60 of its in-service Gripen C/Ds, as part of an overall fleet expansion from just under 100 combat aircraft currently. It expects to fly the C/D model until at least 2035, culminating with using an MS20 Block 5 standard.

Segertoft describes the Gripen E’s operating system as including 800 “apps”. “We have separated every software from each other and the hardware,” he notes. “So we can modify, add or delete, and fly the same day.”


Saab sends up to 10 configuration updates to flight-test per week – including for use on its own jets – for example adjusting display symbology. In a similar way, it was able to assess 12 iterations of a new ground proximity warning system within an eight-week period, Segertoft notes.

Referring to the fighter’s mission computers, he notes that it now uses “a large number of multi-core clusters”, with these having been integrated in place of earlier dual-core processors.

Gripen E new elevon

Source: Saab

Saab has changed elevon design to enhance aerodynamic performance

The company also has tweaked the design of the Gripen’s elevons and repositioned its canards slightly forward to improve aerodynamic performance, especially while in a heavy stores configuration, for example when carrying Saab’s RBS15 anti-ship missile.

Developed and tested in less than six months, the new elevon design is now part of the type’s baseline production configuration.

Seven Gripen Es are already in squadron service with the Brazilian air force at Anapolis air base, with one test aircraft also in use in the country.

Brazil’s lead two-seat Gripen F (aircraft 7002) is currently in the last final assembly station in Linkoping before having its radar and engine installed. The nation’s air force will take eight examples, along with 28 single-seat Es, with the first F to be delivered next year for flight testing.

Following a recent decision, all F-model jets under the Brazilian order will be completed in Sweden, with the move to increase efficiency during assembly activities in Brazil by programme partner Embraer.

Brazilian air force F-39E Gripen

Source: Brazilian air force

The Brazilian air force now has seven Gripens in frontline service, from a 36-aircraft order

In addition to a potential follow-on order for Brazil, Saab is eyeing multiple other export opportunities for its Gripen product line.

New prospects include Austria, Colombia, India, Peru and the Philippines, company officials say. Thailand also could potentially be interested in acquiring a second squadron of the type: either E-model fighters or more C/Ds, to join the 11 already in service in the country.

“The [market] interest in Gripen is only increasing,” says Asa Thegstrom deputy head of Saab’s aeronautics business unit.


Another existing C/D operator, Hungary, also has a potential need to field a second squadron of fighters. It recently ordered an extra four single-seat examples, in a move that will strengthen its inventory to 18.

“The [Hungarian] air force is extremely happy with the Gripen,” notes deputy head of sales and marketing Richard Smith.

Saab’s final assembly line has been set up to enable output of up to 20-25 jets per year, with an identical second line in Brazil to operate at an undisclosed “different rate”.

However, Segertoft notes: “We have the capability to ramp up quite fast and produce more”, on the receipt of additional export orders.

Meanwhile, Saab confirms that it has produced an undisclosed number of “white tail” Gripen C/Ds in advance of securing sales. That total included the four examples recently sold to Hungary.