Saab will only develop an aircraft carrier-capable version of its
JAS 39 Gripen NG fighter should either India or Brazil select the
land-based variant to fulfil their fighter replacement programmes, the
company has said.
Eddy de la Motte, Gripen campaign director for India, told reporters
on 12 June that development of the aircraft has, to date, been driven
by its core customer, the Swedish Air Force (SwAF). With no Swedish
requirement for a navalised aircraft, it requires a customer with a
carrier capability to serve as a catalyst for any such development of
the proposed Sea Gripen.
“[Development of the Sea Gripen] only makes sense if India or Brazil
buy the NG as Sweden has no carriers,” he said during a briefing at the
company’s Linköping facility in southern Sweden.
According to de la Motte, the ‘land’ Gripen needs only rudimentary
changes to make it carrier compatible. These include a strengthened
undercarriage, bigger brakes and a tail hook (which the NG will have).
The standard Gripen has a large number of the attributes for carrier
operations, such as a high precision landing capability, a high pitch
and roll rate authority and precision glide slope control, a reinforced
airframe and enhanced anti-corrosion protection.