Ukraine’s ongoing war with Russia has highlighted the need for advanced fighter jets to bolster its air capabilities. While the request for F-16s from Western countries gains momentum, experts suggest that the lesser-known Swedish JAS 39 Gripen may better fit Ukraine’s unique needs and challenges on the battlefield.

The Ukrainian Air Force’s Dilemma

During the 16-month war, Kyiv and Moscow struggled to establish air dominance. Neither has. Nonetheless, Russia enjoys a technological edge and numerical superiority regarding aircraft, posing a significant challenge to Ukraine’s ground forces. In response, Ukraine has persistently sought Western countries’ support to acquire venerable F-16 fighter jets, and the efforts appear to be bearing fruit.

Russian invasion of Ukraine, as of 24 July 2023 (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Gripen: A Unique Contender

While Ukraine seeks F-16s, experts suggest that the Swedish Gripen, the JAS 39, might be an ideal solution for the country’s air war requirements.

The Gripen’s impressive features, including the ability to reach Mach 2 and fly at supersonic speeds without an afterburner, make it an attractive option.