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Air Force: F-16 to become Ukraine’s main combat aircraft, Gripen may become additional option

Ukraine considers adding Swedish Gripen fighter jets to its air force alongside F-16s, an Air Force spokesman says. Previously, media reports claimed Sweden was considering Gripen supplies to Ukraine, but the decision has not been made yet.
SAAB JAS 39 Gripen fighter jet. Photo: Flickr Finnish Aviation Museum / Tuomo Salonen

Ukraine and its partners are considering the possibility of providing Swedish Gripen fighter jets in addition to the F-16. Yuriy Ihnat, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, said it during the national telethon, according to RBC Ukraine.

“The main combat aircraft will be the F-16… Gripen is also being considered, and the Swedish side may transfer [Gripens] to Ukraine. […] We are not talking about the number. But the F-16 remains the main combat aircraft. If a decision is made on the Gripen, it will be a good option for us,” he said.

According to the spokesperson, Sweden is considering developing a newer version of the Gripen fighter jet, which its air force will use. Therefore, Ukraine will have the prospect of receiving these aircraft. Ihnat added that Ukrainian pilots have already tested Gripen fighters in Sweden.

“During the first visit to the Kingdom of Sweden, the Air Force Commander left specialists there when the meeting was actually taking place to investigate the possibility of providing Ukraine with these aircraft and to conduct some familiarisation flights on these aircraft to understand how it works and to provide a full information – whether we can or cannot get this equipment,” the spokesman explained.

Ihnat stressed that these were not pilot training exercises. The military training will begin only after the decision to transfer the Gripen aircraft is announced, while consultations are still ongoing.

The Saab JAS 39 Gripen is a fourth-generation multi-role fighter aircraft that has been designed with versatility in mind. It is formally classified as a fighter jet, but in reality it is a multi-role aircraft capable of performing various tasks.

At the end of May, the Swedish government allowed Ukrainian pilots to train on the JAS 39 Gripen, they had the opportunity to train on simulators and conduct test flights.

Radio Sweden: Ukrainian pilots test-flew Gripen fighter jets

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