Did India Miss A Trick By Rejecting ‘Stealth Killer’ Saab Gripen For Rafale & Sukhoi Jets?
The Russian built Sukhoi jets are one of the most feared fighter jets in the world. However, Sweden has a jet of its own that has been dubbed as the ‘Russian jet killer’. The Gripen E fighter jet developed by Saab has been designed to kill Russia’s fearsome Sukhoi jets.
Sweden’s Air Force says its Gripen E fighter jets are designed to kill Russia’s fearsome Sukhoi fighter jets, and that they have a “black belt” in that type of combat. Russia’s Sukhoi fighters have achieved a kind of legendary status for their ability to out-manoeuvre US fighter jets in dogfights and pull off dangerous and aggressive stunts in the air, but Gripen E may have cracked the code.
Justin Bronk, an expert at the Royal United Services Institute, told Business Insider that just as the American A-10 Warthog attack aircraft “was designed around its powerful cannon,” the Gripen was built with a focus on electronic warfare.
Gripen pilots don’t like to show their cards by demonstrating the full power of the jet’s jamming in training, but according to Bronk, the one time they did, it completely reversed the course of the mock battle in training.
“Several years ago the Gripen pilots got tired of being made fun of by German Typhoon pilots and came to play with their wartime electronic warfare and gave them a hell of a hard time,” said Bronk. One of the Gripens was “reportedly able to appear on the left wing of a Typhoon without being detected” by using its “extremely respected” jamming ability, said Bronk.
“It would be fair to assume the Gripen is one of the most capable electronic warfighters out there,” he went on, adding that the Gripens that baffled the Typhoons were of the C/D series, which have much less powerful electronic warfare capabilities than the E series Gripens Helgesson described.
While the US has spent millions on dollars on stealth technology to outclass Russian Sukhoi jets, Sweden has taken a completely different approach.
But Saab took a different, and cheaper, approach to combating Russia’s fighters and missiles by focusing on electronic attack, which gives them an advantage over stealth as they can evolve the software without a ground-up rebuild, according to Bronk.
Saab plans to update the software on the Gripen E every two years, giving it more flexibility to meet evolving challenges, according to Bronk.
But, “the problem with basing a survival strategy around an electronic warfare suite is you don’t really know if it’s going to work,” he said. “Even if it does, it’s going to be a constant battle between your adversary and you” to get the edge on the enemy fighters as wave forms and methods of attack continuously change.
However, Sweden benefits from a Russian focus on US fighters. “Sweden is too small really to optimize your counter-electronic warfare capabilities against,” said Bronk.
If war broke out between Russia and the West, Russia would likely try hardest to push back on US electronic warfare rather than against Sweden’s Gripen Es, which there would only be a few dozen of.
The whole concept of the Gripen E is to “operate in Swedish territory, take advantage of all sorts of uneven terrain under cover of friendly surface-to-air missiles with a superb EW suite which should in theory keep it safe from the majority of Russian missiles and air to air threats,” said Bronk.
Additionally, the Gripen E can fire almost any missile made in the US or Europe.
“If you couple a very effective radar with excellent EW and a Meteor, the most effective longest range air-to-air missile which is resistant against [Russia’s] jammers… There’s no reason not to assume it wouldn’t be pretty damn effective,” said Bronk. “If you’re a flanker pilot, it’s probably a very scary thing to face.”
The Gripen E has been ordered by both Sweden and Brazil. Other Saab Gripen fighters have been sold to Hungary, Czech Republic, South Africa and Thailand. India turned down the option to buy the Gripen fighter jet for French Rafale.
Dassault’s Rafale was not India’s only choice as various other global firms expressed interest in the MMRCA tender. Six renowned aircraft manufacturers competed to bag the contract of 126 jets which included Lockheed Martin’s F-16s, Boeing’s F/A-18s, Eurofighter Typhoon, Russia’s MiG-35, Sweden’s Saab’s Gripen and Dassault’s Rafale.
Source:- Eurasian News