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Ukraine eyes Swedish jet alongside Western F-16s – Business Insider

Ukraine eyes Swedish jet alongside Western F-16s – Business Insider

Despite the potential challenge of Ukrainian pilots adjusting to Western-designed F-16s from their familiar Soviet-era jets, Kyiv is also reportedly eyeing the JAS 39 Gripen fighter. Experts opine that this Swedish jet could better meet Ukraine’s needs. Dmitri Alperovitch, host of the Geopolitics Decanted podcast, reveals that Ukrainians have been considering these jets for over a decade, Business Insider writes.

In the ongoing war against Russia, Ukraine has frequently implored Western nations to provide F-16 fighter jets. However, Kyiv is also reportedly interested in acquiring the Swedish-designed JAS 39 Gripen.

Renowned among experts, the Gripen is capable of reaching Mach 2 and can fly at supersonic speeds without an afterburner – a feature known as super-cruise shared by only a few jets, none of them Russian. The Gripen’s adoption by Ukraine’s Air Force would be relatively easy, given its pilot-friendly nature. It is also inexpensive to operate and boasts a short-takeoff-and-landing capability, crucial if Russia targets Ukraine’s larger airfields.

However, despite the Gripen’s impressive capabilities, it has lost several contracts, primarily to the US-made F-35 stealth jet. If Stockholm approves the delivery of Gripens to Kyiv, sourcing aircraft to send might prove difficult. Only six countries, including Sweden, currently operate the jet.

Nonetheless, in the long term, Ukraine “probably will need to be on F-16s,” according to Alperovitch, “but at least in the short-term in order to help them with fighting back the Russians, I think the Gripens are a great option.”

Gripens over Sweden in May 2020. Source: Swedish Armed Forces
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