Tag Archives: Jas-39 ‘Gripen

Swedish Leopards at Play & Gripen Road Tour

Check out this neat unit photo, almost in a TO&E diagram layout format, of a Swedish brigade element. Taken at Skövde practice field last week, shortly after the exercise ended, and shows Södra Skånska Regimentets P7‘s contribution to exercise Våreld 22, which looks to be about half of the unit.

Photo: Felix Sundbäck / Swedish Armed Forces.

Note the Stridsfordon 90 IFVs, Stridsvagn 122 (Leopard 2S) main battle tanks, and assorted support vehicles.

Stridsvagn 122 tank, Sweden’s Leopard 2A5 variant. An excellent tank, the Swedes only have 120 Strv 122s

The Stridsfordon 90 is one serious IFV. Developed by Hägglunds/Bofors, it mounts a 40mm gun, outclassing most vehicles in its class

Pansarterrängbil 360 is a Patria AMV 8×8 variant

Based at Revingehed and with a lineage that dates to 1811, P7 has two battalions– the 71st Motorised Infantry which carries the traditions of the Southern Skåne Infantry Regiment, and the 72nd Armored which carries the traditions of the old Skåne Dragon Regiment– tasked primarily with training. Swelled by 300 new conscripts on 12-month national service stints, the regiment has a cadre of about 270 professional contract soldiers, 600 reservists, and 60 civilian employees. In the event of full mobilization, the regiment will swell to approximately 6,000 soldiers and officers within 48 hours including four battalions of the Skånska Gruppen (SSK) home guard group. 

P7 has sent troops to Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, and Liberia, among others, and most recently to Mali within the framework of the UN-led operation MINUSMA.

Gripen Road Tour

Speaking of summers in Sweden, it is also the time of year that the country’s air force hits the road. 


Check out these images of Norrbottens Flygflottilj F 21 at work, running their JAS 39 Gripens from highways. 

From Russia with love

Yesterday, an unusual thing happened in South Africa. A pair of Russia’s dozen or so operational Tupolev Tu-160 “White Swan” (NATO: Blackjack) bombers touched down at the AFB Waterkloof outside of Pretoria after a non-stop journey from the Motherland. Based in Saratov, the distance involved is something like 7,500 miles in a straight line but the Russkis came the long way, trekking over the Caspian and Arabian seas, as well as the Indian Ocean, in a 13-hour flight. Ground crews arrived earlier this week with support equipment in an Il-62 and An-124 Ruslan.

Escorted by SAAF Hawks (I guess the country’s Gripens were busy) the visit coincided with the start of a Russia-Africa summit in Sochi.

Although the two countries, as the Soviet Union and Apartheid-era South Africa, fought a series of bush wars throughout the 1970s and 80s through proxies in places like Angola and Mozambique, things have changed over the past few years.

As noted by the SADF, “South Africa and Russia have strong diplomatic links that were established between both countries in 1992. Our relations are not solely built on ‘struggle politics’, but rather on fostering mutually beneficial partnerships based on common interests.”

From St. Petersburg:

The purpose of the visit is the development of bilateral military cooperation and the development of issues of interaction between the Russian Aerospace Forces and the South African Air Force.

The event will help to increase the combat training of the flight personnel of the two countries. Comprehensive friendly relations between Russia and South Africa are built in the spirit of strategic partnership and mutual understanding.

Of note, during the Boer War, the Boers enjoyed much support from St. Petersburg, being something of a cause celeb among Tsarist officers and functionaries. In fact, several hundred Russian volunteers actually made it to the Continent to fight the British, as sore feelings of the Great Game and Crimean War were still fresh. Among its members was Cadet politician Alexander Guchkov who later became the Minister of War in the doomed 1917 Provisional Government.

Everything old is new again, as it would seem.

Everyone wants a peak at a Blackjack or two

A pair of Russian Tupolev Tu-160 (NATO: Blackjack) heavy strategic bomber this week took a cruise around the Baltic Sea. Dubbed the “White Swan” by the Russians, just 14 or so of the big variable-wing aircraft, with their 177-foot wingspan, are in service– all with the 121st Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment in Saratov– making one, much less two of the planes airborne at the same time, a rare sight.

Therefore, the sortie was well-attended by NATO and Baltic state fighters.

From the Russian MOD:

Two Tu-160 strategic missile carriers performed a scheduled flight over the neutral waters of the Baltic sea.

The flight duration was more than 7 hours.

At some stages of the route, long-range aircraft were escorted by F-16 fighters of the Belgian [on a NATO Air Policing Mission out of Lithuainia], Danish and Polish Air Force, F-18 of Finnish Air Force, JAS-39 Gripen of Swedish Air Force. After the flight program, the crews of the Russian Aerospace Forces returned to the airfield.

And of course, state-owned Russian media played it up, shocked at the fact that people come out on the porch whenever you have a parade along their front lawn.

I love Swedish Jets

The Swedes, not wanting to buy western and piss off the Soviets, and not wanting to buy Russian and piss off the West, have always built their own combat jets. This has led to an interesting series of planes that arguably can hold their own against either NATO or Warsaw Pact designs from their respective eras. Plus the Swedes always designed their planes with ease of field maintenance and the ability to take off from short emergency runways in mind– which a lot of NATO and Soviet designs just aren’t/cant.

Left to right, SAAB JA-37 'Viggen' - SAAB 35 'Draken' - SAAB Jas-39 'Gripen. Click bigger

Left to right, SAAB JA-37 ‘Viggen’ – SAAB 35 ‘Draken’ – SAAB Jas-39 ‘Gripen’. Click bigger