Czech Gripen air-to-ground capability

The Czech Republic’s 14 Saab JAS 39C and JAS 39D Gripen fighters are being upgraded with Saab MS20 mission software that will allow them to receive Link 16-compatible Viasat MIDS-LVT (multifunction information distribution system – low volume terminal) datalinks. The new software will also allow them to carry out air-to-ground missions, including carriage of laser designator pods. Procurement of 180 Raytheon 500lb GBU-12 and 1,000lb GBU-16 Paveway II precision-guided munitions will also be funded. Czech Gripens had previously been limited to air-to-air missions. David C Isby