Su-35 & JAS-39: Russian Air Force Receives New Batch Of Super Flankers; Saab To Upgrade Its Gripen C/D Fighters

Russia’s Aerospace Forces (VKS) have received a new shipment of advanced Su-35S fighter aircraft, marking the fourth batch delivered in 2023. This indicates Russia’s commitment to strengthening its aerial capabilities amid the Ukraine conflict. 

On October 24, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), operating under the Rostec State Corporation, announced that it had successfully delivered a batch of new Su-35S fighter aircraft to the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS).

The Su-35S fighter aircraft were produced and delivered to the Russian Air Force by the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant, named after Yuri Gagarin, which operates under the United Aircraft Corporation.

Vladimir Artyakov, the first deputy general director of the state corporation, stated that Russian aircraft manufacturers had achieved a commendable production rate of combat jets, ensuring timely deliveries to the Russian Aerospace Forces. This marks just one of several aviation complex deliveries scheduled for this year. 

Artyakov emphasized, “The Su-35S is one of the main fighters in service with the Russian army and enjoys well-deserved success. This super-maneuverable aircraft can perform a wide range of tasks and use the entire range of existing and future models of aviation weapons.” 

China Receives First Advanced Su-35 Flankers From Russia
Su-35 Flankers

Similarly, Yuri Slyusar, the General Director of PJSC UAC, affirmed that the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant is operating efficiently, adhering to the state defense order, and ensuring the timely fulfillment of contract deliveries. 

This commitment aligns with the requirements of the Russian Aerospace Forces for contemporary aviation systems. 

The latest delivery represents the fourth batch of aircraft transferred to the Russian Air Force. Although Moscow hasn’t explicitly disclosed the exact quantity in each batch, photographic evidence from Russian aircraft manufacturers suggests that each delivery consisted of as little as two aircraft each. 

The first, second, and third deliveries of Su-35Ss in 2023 occurred in June, July, and September, respectively, and seemed to comprise just two aircraft each. Thus, eight Su-35Ss have been transferred to the Russian Ministry of Defense within the current year. 

In August, Alexander Mikheev, the head of Rosoboronexport, mentioned that the demand for Russian Su-35 aircraft has surged due to their effective performance in the special military operation zone. 

This equipment has demonstrated its prowess in countering modern Western competitors’ products, contributing to the increased interest in these aircraft.

Saab To Upgrade Gripen C/D Fighters

Saab, Sweden’s prominent defense prime, has announced an additional order from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) to ensure the ongoing operational capabilities and enhancement of the Gripen C/D aircraft.  

Valued at SKr579 million (US$52.6 million), this contract involves the design of new development and simulation environments for the aircraft. It also includes developing new support systems to align the FMV’s Gripen C/D units with the latest E variant. 

The Swedish company will also provide supplementary equipment and hardware for these aircraft. This latest order follows the FMV’s previous contract, which focused on developing and testing Gripen C/D rear maintenance procedures and aimed to streamline the integration of the aircraft’s C, D, and E variants. 

“The upgrade of Gripen C/D is an important step in maintaining a high level of operational capability in the turbulent world we live in. It is also important for Gripen C/D to operate beyond 2030,” says Lars Tossman, head of Saab’s Aeronautics business area.

The Swedish Air Force mainly relies on the Saab JAS 39 Gripen, a compact, single-engine, multi-role fighter aircraft highly regarded for its capability for dispersed operations. 

Sweden operates a robust fleet of 95 JAS 39 Gripen C/D units originally acquired between 1996 and 2007.

These aircraft boast impressive capabilities, with a top speed of Mach 1.2 and an advanced EP-17 electronic display suite featuring three multi-function displays for tactical data and a superimposed map.

SAAB Gripen
SAAB Gripen

The Gripen is the first fighter jet in history to be equipped with the formidable Meteor air-to-air missile, a beyond visual range (BVR) weapon capable of tracking and engaging targets up to 80 miles away. The upgraded Gripen E can carry seven Meteor missiles, significantly increasing from the Gripen C’s four missiles.

Recently, Saab delivered the first series-produced Gripen E aircraft to the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV). This new variant is set to become operational in 2025, further enhancing Sweden’s air defense capabilities.