JAS 39 - SAAB JAS 39 Gripen (1992 -     )

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Postal stamps
Stamp issued in Thailand with Thai JAS 39C Gripen              Stamp issued in the Republic of Burundi  with a Swedishi JAS 39 Gripen as motif.

To the left a stamp issued in Thailand 2012 with a JAS 39C Gripen in Thai colours. To the right a stamp from Burundi 2011 with a Swedish Gripen.


The prototypes
Swedish Air Force mulit-role fighter aircraft JAS 39 Gripen. Prototype 5.
  The five prototypes were painted in this scheme. The first (39-1, code 51) made its first flight 1988-12-09. It was lost in a crash when landing after its sixth trial flight in 1989-02-02. One wing tip touched the ground and the aircraft began to rotate violently. Miraculously, the pilot survived with only light injuries. The reason for the crash was that the steering system was too sensible to handle. In other words a software problem.

Prototype 39-2 (code 52), took off for the first time 1990-05-04. It was later painted black and white. See below.

39-3 (code 53). This aircraft was built in order to test radar, avionics and all other types of electronic systems. It flew for the first time 1991-05-25.

39-4 (code 54) got into the air 1990-12-20, three months before the 3rd test aircraft (39-3). It was mainly used for engine tests.

39-5 (code 55, photo above) made its first flight 1991-10-23. Its main duty was to test radar, weapon and communication systems. It was the first Gripen which was equipped with the glass cockpit (all presentations on colour screens).


Swedish Air Force mulit-role fighter aircraft JAS 39 Gripen. Prototype 2.
Prototype 39-2 (code 52), the second test aircraft was initially used for testing of flying characteristics, cargo allocation and cargo levels. Also new versions of the digital steering system were tested. Missiles were fired and bombs dropped. The aircraft made a display at Farnborough 1992.

In the autumn of 1994, the aircraft was painted in black and white (see photos above and below). Now it would undertake spin tests and high alpha tests. This new painting gave better contrast on films and photos. A special parachute was fitted at the tail during the dangerous spin tests. During the high alpha tests, an angle of incidence of 28o was achieved.

After the test was finished, the 39-2 was transferred to the Swedish Air Force Museum (Flygvapenmuseum) at Malmen, Linköping.

Swedish Air Force mulit-role fighter aircraft JAS 39 Gripen. Prototype 2. High alpha test. Photo: Gripen International KB.

The black painted test aircraft 39-2 during high alpha test. 

Photo:  Jonny Lindahl - from "Gripen Photo Gallery June 2001" - GRIPEN SAAB-BAE SYSTEMS.

  Swedish Air Force mulit-role fighter aircraft JAS 39 Gripen in two-seat version (# 39-800).
The first two-seat Gripen (JAS 39B) was shown for an audience in September, 1995. It made its first flight 1996-04-29. It got the number 39-800 and the fin code 58. The most important differences between 39-800 and the single-seat prototypes were that the two-seater was that the fuselage was 66 cm longer and that the automatic cannon were omitted.

39-800 has among other things been used for testing different reconnaissance pods. It was later rebuilt to JAS 39D standard and was the first Gripen with the modernised cockpit instrumentation. The first flight in JAS 39D standards was made in 2002-04-29.

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© Lars Henriksson

  Updated 2013-04-19
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