Sweden is presently considering the option of providing JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets to Ukraine as a potential donation.
This was reported by SVT, citing Swedish radio station Ekot as the source. The government is expected to issue instructions to its armed forces, possibly as early as September 14, 2023, to assess the implications of transferring these aircraft.
The key considerations for Sweden include understanding how this transfer might impact its defense capabilities and the timeline for procuring replacement fighters for the Royal Air Force. The government is particularly interested in assessing the effects on Sweden's defense capabilities and the speed at which new Gripen fighters can be acquired.
The Swedish Armed Forces are expected to provide their evaluation in November, after which the government will make a decision regarding the potential transfer of fighter jets to Ukraine.
While Ukrainian pilots reportedly tested Swedish JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft in August, Swedish officials have previously stated that there were no plans to transfer these jets to Ukraine. However, the Swedish opposition has called for such a transfer on the condition that Ukraine joins NATO.
Magdalena Andersson emphasized the strategic importance of strengthening Ukraine's air defense to prevent Russian advances, stating that a Jas Gripen fighter jet could be a valuable asset for Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the Swedish Social Democratic Party has urged the government to conduct a thorough analysis of the impact on Sweden's defense, the required training for Ukrainian pilots, and the logistics involved in delivering the aircraft.
Currently, the Swedish Air Force operates 94 Gripen aircraft, including 70 of the C version and 24 of the D version. Sweden has ordered a total of 204 aircraft, with 98 in the Swedish Air Force, 32 utilized and dismantled, 28 leased in the Czech Republic and Hungary, 12 sold to Thailand, 4 used as a flying laboratory, and 4 lost in accidents. Additionally, 2 aircraft have been preserved in museums.
To conserve around 30 mothballed aircraft, the A/B version will serve as a platform for upgrading to the E/F version. Sweden aims to maintain a fleet of 60 E version aircraft in its air force.