MMRCA 2.0 : Swedish Legend- The Saab Gripen-E
So, the stage is all set for yet another round of gruelling selection trials to fix upon the next major aircraft for the Guardians of the Skies. The MMRCA 2.0, as it’s fondly called, is another take on the MMRCA competition held a few years back to procure new fighter aircraft to strengthen the squadrons of Indian Air Force. MMRCA 1.0 saw two European machines at the final stage and the Dassault Aviation’s Rafale jet was finalized as the winner.
Unfortunately, the deal couldn’t be finalized between the Indian government and Dassault over ToT and was finally scrapped by the new government. As an interim effort, a deal for direct purchase of 36 Rafale jets was inked. Since the squadron numbers have been dwindling due to the retirement of obsolete equipment, MMRCA 2.0 was inevitable.
In this series, we will elucidate the six sure contenders for the MMRCA 2.0. So, first up we take up the Monster from Russian, the MiG-35.Now, we can take a closer look at the Swedish contender, the Saab Gripen-E.
Contender 2 – The Saab ‘Gripen-E’
Gripen-E is upgraded fighter of gripen series .It is a light fighter with advanced electronic warfare capabilities and a broader multirole capabilities .
The AESA radar of gripen is superior and has higher field of view than other AESA radars in the world ,the field of view of gripen’s radar is 120 while most other radars has a field of view of 60 degree . Gripens have one of the most advanced tactical links . Gripen carries high off bore sight capable air to air missiles and they carry pretty deadly advanced air to air missiles such as AMRAAM- one of the deadliest missiles out in sky and a helment mounted display to lock and launch missiles! Which can target adversery at 90 degree off the sight! And they have IRST too. The next deadly weapon of grippen is meteor a long range air to air missile , which has three times the kill proablility of AMRAAM and with high range and mordern than it. Meteor has no escape zone of 60km! Gripen have defeated F16s and F18s in combat exercises in 2004 (thats a older gripen variant) Gripen proved to be superior especially in BVR combats than the F16 and F18. Grippen have advanced datalink as I have already mentioned .
A Gripen can share it’s radar data with four other gripens i.e a single gripen can switch on it’s radar while its fellow gripens can switch off their radar (it is a little steathy too as other gripens dont emit radar waves) Gripen can coordinately attack an adversary ,while one jams the adversary othet gripen can track it while another attacks it.
Gripen E has weapons like guided glide bombs, long-range and agile air-to-air missiles and heavy anti-ship armaments. Additionally, the aircraft has an inherent precision strike and stand-off capability, says Saab Gripen E offers here is a Contemporary Electronic Warfare abilities that is what truly matters in Next Gen. warfare. The price is high but that is because Gripen has got so much to offer.
Gripen NG is the most advanced multi-role fighter in the world. Gripen is, by design, a true multi-role fighter aircraft, capable of performing an extensive range of air-to-air, air-to-surface and reconnaissance missions under all conditions in any environment. Saab has also set out a comprehensive plan within India’s Make in India initiative, which will include transfer of state-of-the-art technology; setting up of an aerospace eco-system in India, including a manufacturing facility; creation of a local supplier base; employment of a well-trained Indian workforce in engineering and manufacturing.
Sensor Suite :~
This one is quite impressive amongst all the 4Gs.
Selex Galileo-Raven ES-05 AESA. This radar offers a 200° Coverage owing to its swashplate technique it sees where others are blind. This becomes quite important while on a CAS mission.
In a BVR aerial combat, the Gripen can simply lock on the target and fire the missile and turn away without having to compromise the radar data link with the missile. The swish plate repositions the radar and continues to track the target and engages it. This is impossible for a fixed plate AESA radar. The radar is known to have a range of 222km with multiple scanning modes for Air-Air, Air-Surface combats.
IRST (Infra-Red Seach and Track) passive sensor system / Skyward G-infrared active product by Selex-ES is synchronized (acquisition data transmission between devices) and also provides the ability to hang missiles reconciliation to fight.
The Gripen-E will also feature a Wide Area Display (WAD) which gives the pilot a better situational awareness and the bridges the gap between the inputs of the pilot and the fighter handling.
Gripen E has a new electronic architecture (Net Centric Warfare – NCW). Judged ten times faster than its competitors. The new central system PPLI (Participant Precise Location and Identification) and connects all the slopes internal and external sensors (RAVEN, IRST, EW39, ATFLIR pod) and then offer the best responses to threats. This is right now best thing in Gripen as per me and after F 35 it is the only fighter to be able of that.
The Gripen E is driven by General Electric’s (GE) F414G turbofan engine rated at 22,000lb (98kN). It features a new high-pressure turbine and a new six-stage, high-pressure compressor. “The aircraft’s engine and design enable it to fly at supersonic speed without using an afterburner.” The Gripen E features a digital cockpit with three large multi-functional displays (MFD) including a few 3D screens. The cockpit also features a hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) which provides superior situational awareness for the pilot.
Gripen is a highly capable aircraft and at the same time is a cost effective option for India.