Saab Unveils Gripen E In Brand New Splinter Color Scheme

A close up view on Saab Gripen E "6002" of the Swedish Air Force. (Image credit: Saab).

Aircraft serialled 6002, sporting Swedish Air Force markings, was photographed in the new outstanding camouflaged scheme during a recent test flight.

Saab has just released an extremely interesting photo of a Gripen E, the new multirole variant of the Jas-39 Gripen fighter, based on the proven C/D platforms, sporting a remarkable, never seen before splinter paint scheme: it’s not clear whether this is going to become the standard Swedish camouflage (the aircraft was also given the Swedish Air Force roundels), but for sure, the new scheme looks pretty cool.

Although “Splinter” paint schemes have become a distinguishing feature of U.S. Air Force Aggressors, Russian 4th and 5th generation aircraft, and also Iranian F-14s (under the name of Asian Minor II camouflage), a splinter camouflage pattern was also used by the Swedish JAS 39 predecessor: the Saab 37 Viggen.

Indeed, the Viggen (Swedish for Thunderbolt) was a multirole, single-seat, single-engine, canard design aircraft, capable to reach Mach 2, fly supersonic at sea level, and operate from short runways that were special sections of highway for dispersal during wartime. Five distinct variants of the Viggen were produced to perform the roles of strike fighter (AJ 37), aerial reconnaissance (SF 37), maritime patrol aircraft (SH 37), two-seat trainer (SK 37) and all-weather fighter-interceptor (JA 37). The Viggen that was retired from Swedish Air Force service, its only operator, in 2005, to be replaced by the Saab JAS 39. Noteworthy, one of the most famous color scheme used by the Swedish Viggens was the splinter camouflage scheme made of three shades of green and brown.

Saab 37 Viggen, at Sanicole airshow 2019. (Image credit: Tibboh/Wiki)

Before a flight on Dec. 13, 2012, a JAS 39A Gripen was given the very same camouflage scheme of the Saab 37 Viggen. It flew only a couple of times with those colors before being grounded for spares for the JAS 39C.

The Gripen E was officially unveiled at Saab base in Likoping, Sweden, on May 18, 2016.

The aircraft is much similar to its predecessor: an IRST (Infra Red Search and Track) bump in front of the cockpit in the nose section as well as the missile warning system on the air intakes are the main external differentiators.

According to Saab, Gripen E offers operational dominance and flexibility with superior mission survivability. Air-to-air superiority is guaranteed with METEOR, AMRAAM, IRIS-T, AIM-9 missile capability and supercruise. Sweden and Brazil have ordered this Gripen variant, with deliveries starting this year.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.