Saab unveiled new electronic warfare (EW) capabilities for the Gripen E at the Kauhava Airshow in Finland on August 28, which it will offer in its Finnish Air Force HX Fighter programme bid.
During a press briefing at the event, the company revealed that the multi-role fighter will feature a new lightweight air-launched decoy missile (LADM). According to Saab, the new system is a highly capable stand-in jammer, which will act as a force multiplier and reduce the number aircraft and missiles required to complete missions.
The LADM provides a new suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD) capability for the Gripen E. It can jam hostile air defence systems or create false targets for acquisition, tracking, fire control and airborne radars, increasing the aircraft’s survivability and enhancing its mission effectiveness. The decoy missile has been developed at Saab’s facilities in Tampere, Finland, and Sweden, with the majority of work on the project taking place at the former.
Jonas Hjelm, senior vice president and head of Saab’s Aeronautics division, said: “The decoy missile, that we present today, will constitute a strong addition to [the] Gripen E/F’s built-in electronic attack capabilities. The payload of the new decoy missile is to a large extent developed in Finland and this will strengthen our offer to Finland even further.”
Saab will offer the LADM and the enhanced EW capabilities it provides in its Gripen E/F bid for the Finnish Air Force’s HX Fighter programme. This open competition seeks to procure a new multi-role fighter to replace its ageing F/A-18C/D Hornet fleet from 2025. Finland has taken a large interest in the EW capabilities offered by the contending platforms.
In the HX Fighter programme, the Gripen E/F is competing against Boeing’s Block III F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft; the Dassault Rafale; Eurofighter Typhoon and Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter.
Saab’s offer also includes the company’s Electronic Attack Jammer Pod (EAJP), which is described by the company as a highly capable escort jammer. The EAJP provides additional capabilities and augments the Gripen E’s onboard EW systems, increasing its output power and frequency range. The firm officially launched the development of the EAJP in 2017 and began flight testing the system in November 2019.
As part of its bid, Saab is also offering two GlobalEye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft to the Finnish Air Force, with both platforms present at the Kauhava Airshow. “Our offering to Finland, combining Gripen E/F and GlobalEye as force multipliers, will protect Finland’s people and borders by delivering both comprehensive situational awareness and a true deterrence effect,” Hjelm added.