Defence and security company Saab announces that the Gripen E smart fighter flew supersonic for the first time. The aircraft broke the sound barrier over the Baltic Sea on the 18th October.

Gripen E Goes Supersonic
Gripen E Goes Supersonic

The Gripen E smart fighter flew at speeds greater than the speed of sound, at over Mach 1, as part of the ongoing flight trials programme. The purpose was to collect data from the aircraft as it achieved and sustained supersonic speed. The flight took place over the Baltic sea and the aircraft sustained supersonic speed for a number of minutes, whilst carrying out maneouvres, demonstrating the successful combination of the aircraft’s fighter design and its powerful engine.

«As Gripen pilots we are used to extreme speed but to go through the sound barrier for an aircraft’s first time is still a moment to enjoy. It is important that the aircraft handles the transition smoothly through what we call the transonic zone around the sound barrier and she certainly did, it was very smooth», said Marcus Wandt, Test Pilot, Saab.

Welcoming the news, Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and head of business area Aeronautics said, «Individual milestones such as this supersonic flight demonstrate the thoroughness of our engineering approach and the validity of the modelling. It is further evidence that the Gripen E flight test programme is going extremely well, whilst the delivery schedule to our two customers remains our key focus».

This milestone has been preceded by over 20 flying hours since the first flight back on 15 June 2017.



Length overall 15.2 m/50 feet
Width overall 8.6 m/28 feet
Basic mass empty 8,000 kg/17,637 lbs
Internal fuel 3,400 kg/7,496 lbs
Maximum takeoff weight 16,500 kg/36,376 lbs
Maximum thrust 98 kN/9,993 kgf/22,031 lbf
Minimum takeoff distance 500 m/1,640 feet
Landing distance 600 m/1,968 feet
Maximum speed at sea level > 756 knots/870 mph/1400 km/h
Maximum speed at high altitude Mach 2
Supercruise capability Yes
Maximum service altitude > 16,000 m/52,500 feet
G-limits -3G / +9G
Hardpoints 10
Combat turnaround air-to-air 10 min
Full engine replacement 1 hour


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