Swedish media reported that the government will soon ask the armed forces to investigate the possibility of transferring Gripen fighters to Ukraine.
Swedish media are reporting that the government intends to ask the armed forces to investigate the possibility of transferring a number of Gripen C/D fighter jets to Ukraine, after allowing Ukrainian pilots to test the Swedish-made aircraft. Swedish public radio SR and newspaper DN cited that, according to unnamed sources, the request should arrive soon.
The investigation is meant to look at how the transfer of a still unspecified number of Gripens, which some sources state it could be a sixth of the total fleet or at least 16 aircraft, could affect the Swedish defence capability. Other aspects to be investigated are how quickly the aircraft can be replaced, the time needed for training and the time needed to prepare the logistics for the delivery.
Earlier this year, Ukraine requested the permission for pilots and technicians to evaluate operationally the Gripen as one of the measures to strengthen the country’s air defenses until a final decision on the F-16 arrived. Sweden agreed and granted the possibility of orientation training on the Gripen for the Ukrainian personnel, and on Sept. 14, Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonson said, in a written statement, that Ukrainian pilots have already been allowed to test fly the Gripen.
“The orientation training has been completed and according to the report I received from the Armed Forces , the training went well,” he said in the statement.
Orientation training includes test flights in both aircraft and simulator and briefings for ground personnel.
Details released so far are scarce, however the Gripen has always been considered a perfect candidate for the supply of fighters to Ukraine since its capability to perform dispersed operations, operating from roads and unprepared runways in isolated locations and with reduced support.