Gripen E’s Missile System Best Suited For IAF

Saab Gripen E - Aviatorsbuzz
Saab Gripen E Source Saab

The Gripen E offer for India builds upon the Gripen E family of aircraft. Gripen E is the most modern fighter in the competition and together with the weaponry, including the Meteor Beyond Visual Range missile, Gripen E will give India an edge against its adversaries. The latest high performance sensors such as AESA radar, IRST system, advanced datalinks and AI-enabled decision support gives the pilot superior situational awareness and ability to see first-act first. With its combat performance and power projection capability, Gripen E will provide the IAF with deterrence power in the region. Even more important, Gripen E can be armed with Indian-developed missiles or missiles of any provenance, unlike any other aircraft.

The Meteor BVR Edge 

Beyond Visual Range (BVR) combat with “See First – Shoot First” capability is one of the most important features of modern fighter aircraft. The Meteor has changed the dynamics of BVR combat and taken it to a new level, providing unmatched air-to-air capability. With an operational range of over 100 km, a BVRAAM Meteor missile can travel at speeds of over Mach 4, over four times the speed of sound. The missile can accelerate mid-way, leaving very little chance for the target to escape. The Meteor is capable of engaging targets ranging from agile jets and UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to cruise missiles, simultaneously and autonomously in any weather condition.

What Meteor capability means for India  

Accurate strike capability against both fast moving targets and small unmanned vehicles, that is MBDA Gripen developed Meteor long range missile for you! The missile will be considered a game-changer for the Indian Air Force for a long time to come. Known as the best missile of its type, Meteor has become an indispensable part of the ongoing Indian Multi-role Fighter Programme (MRFA) and continues to generate interest around the world. The Meteor BVRAAM (Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile) currently has the largest ‘No-escape Zone’ (NEZ) of any air-to-air missile which means that the missile leaves very little chance for any agile target to escape once tracked. The Meteor has supersonic ramjet as opposed to rocket engines seen in heavy weight missiles such as the Phoenix, R-33 and AMRAAM. The unique ramjet system allows the engine to be throttled back in order to save fuel, while the missile glides at the speed of up to Mach 4.

Meteor on the Gripen fighter  

The advantages of Meteor can only be obtained if properly integrated and operated by a platform that can fully exploit its potential. The unique combination of Meteor and the integration with Gripen’s sensor and net centric warfare capabilities is at the core of what revolutionises air combat. Gripen was the first test bed aircraft for the Meteor and as such, considered “the perfect aircraft” for missiles of its calibre to be tested on. In 2018, Saab successfully completed a test flight for the Meteor on Gripen E (designated 39-8) for the first time, five years after the missile was first tested on a Gripen C platform. 80 percent of Meteor firing tests have taken place on the Gripen ever since. The Gripen is designed to multiply the fleet’s combat capability through the networked operations capability where all connected assets are tightly co-ordinated and synchronised. All resources are shared and optimised to maximise the operational effect. Fusion of both on-board sensors such as the AESA radar, passive IRST and AESA EW, and off-board sensors from other air, land and sea assets acquired through advanced data links, give the pilots a coherent tactical picture and accurate target acquisition data, even against very low signature threats.

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Nitin Konde is a freelance journalist with an experience of more than a decade. Being a freelancer, he has covered various domains in his field such as Sports, Biotechnology, Defence etc. and has been associated with brands like The Times of India, Vayu Aerospace and Defence Review Magazines. Since the last three years he has been focusing and writing extensively on the defence sector, he is here to share his expertise with our readers on AviatorsBuzz.