The Saab JAS 39 Gripen (English: Griffin) is a lightweight single-engine multirole fighter manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab. It was designed to replace the Saab 35 Draken and 37 Viggen in the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet). The Griffin features delta wings and canards, as well as relaxed stability design and fly-by-wire technology.
In 1979, the Swedish government began development studies for an aircraft capable of fighter, attack and reconnaissance missions to replace the Saab 35 Draken and 37 Viggen. One of Saab's designs was chosen, and was developed into the JAS 39. Comparatively small relative to similar fighters, the Gripen has a top speed of Mach 2. Eight hardpoints allow it to carry various bombs and missiles, supplemented by the 27 mm Mauser BK-27 cannon. Its GE F404-derived Volvo-Flygmotor RM12 produces more than 80 kilonewtons (18,000 lbf) of thrust with afterburner, giving the aircraft a thrust-to-weight ratio of 0.97.
Beset by early problems with its avionics during flight testing, during which a prototype was lost, the aircraft entered service in 1997. Saab has since co-operated with other aerospace companies in marketing the aircraft internationally, and has achieved moderate success in Central Europe, South Africa and Southeast Asia. More than 264 Gripens have been delivered or ordered as of 2011.
Source: Wikipedia, "Saab JAS 39 Gripen", available under the CC-BY-SA License.