The Swedish Defense Minister has revealed that the Scandinavian country is studying the possibility of training Ukrainian pilots in its JAS-39 Gripen fighters, while an international coalition is taking shape to train and deploy Western aircraft in Ukraine.

Ignoring Ukrainian requests for fighter jets, Sweden has so far maintained that it needs its Gripen fighters for its own territorial defense. However, Swedish Defense Minister Pl Jonsson told TV4 that his country was considering in a “positive spirit” a request from Ukraine to allow its pilots to carry out test flights with the Swedish plane.

“That could, for example, mean test flights, using simulators, learning more about the extensive ground system that is part of the Gripen system,” he said on May 25, referring to it as a “familiarization program.” However, he refrained from offering further details, including where the training will likely occur.

The announcement comes at a time when NATO allies are considering Ukraine’s request for Western fighter jets. For example, the UK and France announced earlier this month that they would train Ukrainian fighter pilots to fly the fourth generation of Western fighter jets.

Although the focus has invariably been on the delivery of F-16 fighters to Ukraine, the training module in the UK would be such that it would allow Ukrainian pilots to fly any fourth-generation aircraft, including the Eurofighter Typhoon, the F-16 or even the Saab Gripen, as previously reported by EurAsian Times.

Noting that Ukrainian fighter pilots will be trained to operate a large number of fourth-generation fighter jets, the British statement said: “This will adapt the program used by UK pilots to provide Ukrainians with piloting skills they can apply.” to different types of aircraft. This formation goes hand in hand with the UK’s efforts to collaborate with other countries in supplying F-16 jets, the fighters of choice for Ukraine.”

The Swedish Defense Minister’s announcement is just one of many made in recent days. For example, US Defense Secretary Llyod Austin announced that NATO members Denmark and the Netherlands would lead a coalition of allied nations lining up to train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighters.

“In the coming weeks, my Dutch and Danish counterparts will be working with the US and other allies to develop a training framework,” he added. “Norway, Belgium, Portugal and Poland have already offered to contribute to the training, and we hope more countries will join.”

Although countries that don’t fly F-16s, such as the UK and France, have committed to training Ukrainian test pilots, they have categorically stated that the transfer of fighters from their inventories was out of the question. The same may be true of Sweden, which has refused to honor repeated requests for its JAS 39 Gripen aircraft.

“Right now we need them for the defense of our territory, but we are open to letting the Ukrainians test the Gripen,” he told TV4. “That’s in line with what other countries are doing, both those that operate F-16 fighters and Tornado,” he said.

SAAB Gripen – the best option for Ukraine

When Ukraine began to claim Western fighter jets, military experts and war scholars favored the Swedish Gripen as the most suitable for operations in this war-torn country.

Sweden considers the JAS-39 Gripens better for Ukrainian pilots than the F-16 Fighting Falcons.

In a report published on November 7 last year by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), experts stated that when it comes to the operational needs of Ukrainian air defense, the Swedish aircraft is “by far the most “suitable” for Western-built fighters.

According to SAAB, the SwAF’s Gripen C/D fighters, for example, can land in 600 meters and take off at 500 meters.

The Gripen can take off and land quickly, allowing it to operate from taxiways, small public airports, and highways. The fighter has ailerons, which increase its angle of attack and provide additional lift at slower landing speeds.

Once the fighter lands, you have to stop it quickly. To do this, the Gripen’s predecessor, the SAAB 37 Viggen, had a thrust reverser that slowed and stopped the aircraft. However, SAAB decided to abandon the thrust reversal system and instead used the canard and wheel brakes to quickly stop it.

Additionally, instead of maintaining aircraft at fixed repair facilities, mobile maintenance teams transport fuel, ammunition and components to the aircraft site while operating military trucks and vans.

SAAB claims that, with a single technician and five expert mechanics, refueling and rearming – including gun reloading and air-to-air missile installation – can be accomplished in less than 10 minutes.

In addition, the push button closures used to open and close the access panels facilitate access to the maintenance areas of the aircraft. All maintenance equipment fits in a single compact container. Additionally, to reduce crew travel time, the service panel and refueling hatch are located nearby.

In this way, the Ukrainian Air Force will be able to use the aircraft without problems, preparing for an incessant barrage of missiles on the frontline military infrastructure.