Czech Gripens field improved ground and air attack capability through MS20 upgrade

The Czech Air Force has successfully completed the MS20 capability upgrade to its fleet of Saab Gripen fighter aircraft, that greatly increases Gripen’s combat and communication capabilities.

The upgrade greatly enhances Gripen’s ability to engage ground targets by incorporating unguided and laser-guided bombs into the aircraft payload and the air-to-air capability is enhanced by introduction of new radar modes.

Another key element will be the integration of the targeting electro-optical pod Litening III, which will be used not only for guiding missiles and bombs, but also in aerial reconnaissance and combat. The upgrade also implements the Alliance datalink - Link 16 - as well as crypto modules for covert communication.

The capability upgrade involves both hardware and software upgrades.

On 12 March 2018, a symbolic date marking the 19th anniversary of Czech Republic’s entry into NATO, the new software package was integrated into the single and double seat versions of the Czech Gripen.

After successful flight tests the MS20 software was integrated into the remaining fighters. This enabled a smooth and instant transition to the new MS20 upgrade.

Czech Air Force operates 14 Gripens including two trainer variants, leased from Sweden. The capability was introduced to Swedish Gripen fleet in 2016.

The MS20 enable the JAS 39C/D to carry the ramjet-powered MBDA Meteor beyond visual range air to air missile (BVRAAM).