Sweden thinks it can take on Russia in the air, but can it?


STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Swedish Air Force commander Mats Helgesson said the Saab Gripen E fighter is capable of beating Russian Sukhoi aircraft in an air combat, according to the Business Insider portal.

“Gripen, especially the E-model, is designed to kill Sukhois. There we have a black belt,” Helgesson told Yle at a presentation in Finland, where Sweden is trying to export the jets.

Sukhoi fighters have achieved the status of legendary for their high maneuverability and supremacy over American airplanes in the air thanks to “dangerous and aggressive stunts,” the issue points out.

The US Air Force is betting on stealth technologies. Meanwhile, Gripen engineers are not attempting to lessen the visibility of the hunt, but rather modernize the on-board radio-electronic warfare systems.

“The Gripen can’t carry the most weapons and has no real stealth. And it isn’t the longest-range, the fastest, or even the cheapest jet. But it has a singular focus that makes it a nightmare for Russia’s fighter jets,” wrote the issue.

According to an analyst at the British Royal Institute for Defense Studies, Justin Bronk, Gripen fighters outperform most analogues in the effectiveness of electronic warfare and suppression of enemy radars.

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“Several years ago the Gripen pilots got tired of being made fun of by German Typhoon pilots and came to play with their wartime electronic warfare and gave them a hell of a hard time,” Bronk said. One of the Gripens was “reportedly able to appear on the left wing of a Typhoon without being detected” by using its “extremely respected” jamming ability, Bronk said,” he said.

The military analyst Igor Korotchenkov described Helgesson’s statement as “presumptuous and silly.”

“This is a smug and foolish statement, first of all because Gripen belongs to the class of light fighters like the MiG-29 and the MiG-35, but the Su-30 or Su-35 are heavy fighters,” he said.

“In a real air combat, the important thing is the tactical and technological characteristics of an airplane and the professionalism of a pilot.” Much depends on particular conditions, the preparation of the pilot, the readiness to operate in various aerial combat regimes,” he explained.

The analyst added that such statements highlight the inferiority complex of the Swedish Air Force.

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