Swedish Gripens and German Eurofighters team up for air combat training

Five JAS 39C/D Gripen fighters assigned to the Swedish Air Force’s F 7 Skaraborgs Flygflottilj (Wing) at Såtenäs Air Base (AB) in Sweden deployed to Rostock-Laage AB, Germany, between April 19-26.

Their mission, was to conduct air combat training with Eurofighter EF-2000s assigned to the Luftwaffe’s Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 73 (TaktLwG 73; Tactical Air Force Wing 73) ‘Steinhoff’.

The arrival of the five Swedish Gripens – comprising four single-seat JAS 39Cs (39214/‘214’; 39225/‘225’; 39226/‘226’; 39277/‘277’) and one dual-seat JAS 39D (39827/‘827’) – represented Sweden’s first joint training exercise with Germany since the Scandinavian nation formally joined the NATO alliance on March 7. During the week-long training event, the Gripens flew air-to-air refuelling sorties and took part in dissimilar air combat training (DACT) scenarios and formation flying with the Eurofighters.

A JAS 39C Gripen (39277/‘277’) from the SwAF’s F 7 Skaraborgs Flygflottilj practices close formation flying with a Luftwaffe-operated EF-2000 (30+93) assigned to TaktLwG 73 ‘Steinhoff’ while participating in a DACT scenario over Germany in April
A JAS 39C Gripen (39277/‘277’) from the SwAF’s F 7 Skaraborgs Flygflottilj practices close formation flying with a Luftwaffe-operated EF-2000 (30+93) assigned to TaktLwG 73 ‘Steinhoff’ while participating in a DACT scenario over Germany in April German Armed Forces/Dr Stefan Petersen

According to the Luftwaffe, the Gripen and EF-2000 “worked together perfectly” during the exercise, with both types playing the role of a mixed ‘Red Air’ and ‘Blue Air’ force. “The simulated [‘Red Air’] opponent – a mix of Gripen and Eurofighters, reinforced by civilian jets for target display – was in the majority, but was still unable to assert itself in the airspace over Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania,” the air arm added.

During the training period, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited the German base and took flight in a German EF-2000, which was closely flanked by a Swedish Gripen. The last time that SwAF and Luftwaffe units took part in a joint training exercise at Rostock-Laage was in 2003.

For more see the August 2024 issue of AirForces Monthly.