Czech tool up Gripens

The Czech Air Force is expanding the role of its 14 Saab JAS-39 Gripen jets by buying four Litening III targeting pods for air to ground tasks. Previously, the Gripens were almost exclusively used in the air-to-air role, with aircraft on 24/7 quick reaction alert to intercept unknown aircraft.

The pods will also be used however, by the remaining Aero Vodochody L-159 ALCAs, a light attack aircraft that serves next to the Gripens. Tests on L-159 with the Litening III proved successful. The Israeli made targeting pod is widely used by air forces around the world. The Swedish have been using the pod, designed by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems in cooperation with American Northrop Grumman, on their Gripens for years.

The Czechs are also buying 200 GBU-12/16 Paveway II laser guided bombs.

© 2015 editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: The Gripens roar over Čáslav. (Image © Elmer van Hest)