A focus on realistic requirements has helped Swedish industry and government teams integrate weapons on the Gripen faster and at lower cost than similar efforts elsewhere, Saab says.
Two new weapons for the Gripen, the Raytheon GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway II laser-plus-GPS bomb and Diehl Iris-T infrared air-to-air missile (AAM), were successfully integrated in 2006-09, according to Gideon Singer, technical director for Gripen exports, and Lisa Abom, head of the Saab project office for engineering and weapons. Flight testing of the Thales Digital Joint Reconnaissance Pod for South Africa's Gripens was completed in 2011 in “less than eight months,” they say.
The Gripen was also selected as the test platform for the MBDA Meteor AAM. The first production firing took place this summer and qualification firings for full integration of the Gripen will be complete in 2014. Sweden will be the first air force to field the new missile, with the Gripen MS 20 package in 2015. That upgrade will also include the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb.