The Gripen NG will consist of a comprehensive weapon system that will include the aircraft, avionics, and mission support systems. The integration of specific weapon systems will enable the Brazilians to load weapons already used on other combat aircraft, or new ones, currently being integrated on the Gripen. These include the Meteor long-range air/air missile, selected by six European air forces to become their primary weapon for Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air/air combat. This missile’s very long range combined with its ramjet-induced speed result in a weapon that has an unequalled No Escape Zone. Key features of Meteor include the missile’s very-high speed capability, especially during the final ‘end game’, thus ensuring the highest levels of agility to defeat any attempted evasive manoeuvre carried out by the intended target. According to the missile developer, the European consortium MBDA, METEOR has been designed to be many times superior to the most sophisticated current and emerging Medium-Range Air/air missile threat. The Gripen is one of the three European platforms involved in the Meteor programme. The Gripen has become a key player in the programme with firing tests having taken place from this platform since 2006.
Israel’s RAFAEL is also eying Brazil’s Gripen NG as an opportunity to provide air/air missiles, targeting and reconnaissance and air-to-ground munitions. Among the missiles the company is displaying at LAAD for the first time is an extended range version of I-Derby, a version that could significantly extend the missile’s range. The Python 5 is also proposed for the Gripen NG – the Israeli Python missile is currently operational on the Brazilian upgraded F-5Es. RAFAEL’s Litening targeting pod has been integrated on the Gripen, and is likely to be integrated on the next generation variant as well, along with the SPICE air-to-ground guided weapons family. With increasing prospects in the Brazilian market, RAFAEL is gradually expanding its presence in the country, seeking to strengthen its position through investment and acquisitions.