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Ukraine ready for Swedish Gripens: infrastructure in place, says aviation chief

While Ukraine’s current priority is acquiring F-16s, the country has also submitted all the necessary requests to procure Gripens.
JAS-39C Gripen not yet able to fire the AGM-88E.
Ukraine ready for Swedish Gripens: infrastructure in place, says aviation chief

Ukraine’s infrastructure is ready to accommodate Swedish Gripen fighter jets, according to General Serhii Holubtsov, Chief of Aviation of Ukraine’s Air Force. He emphasized that Swedish aircraft are designed to operate from ordinary roads, eliminating the need for specialized takeoff and landing surfaces.

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.

“These jets will be very, very simplified for us in the sense that the infrastructure for them is already suitable [in Ukraine]. This aircraft was produced according to the Swedish strategy of dispersion. That is, it can use ordinary roads. It does not require any specialized surface, and it uses the entire range of Western weapons. In other words, everything that can be used on the F-16s can also be used on the Gripens,” Holubtsov told RFE/RL.

While prioritizing F-16s, Ukraine has submitted requests for Gripens. 

“The F-16 was offered first. We are now working on the F-16, building the infrastructure for it… The Gripen is in second place for us. And all requests to Sweden have also been provided. It’s just that this process is not a priority now, but we are considering the possibility of obtaining these aircraft,” Holubtsov added.

However, Sweden paused its plan to transfer them to avoid interfering with the coalition effort to provide F-16s. 

“We were convinced by coalition members to wait with the Gripen,” said Swedish Defense Minister Paul Jonson.

Instead, Sweden is focusing on supplying two Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft, ASC 890, to help Ukraine detect targets up to 500 km away and share data with F-16s.

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