Eight Gripen fighter aircraft from the Swedish Armed Forces is currently taking part in the NATO lead UN mission in Libya.
The formal decision to participate in the UN mission was taken by the Swedish Parliament in the beginning of April 2011. In total the Swedish Armed Forces will have up to 130 people deployed for this mission, including ten Gripen pilots, for a period of up to three months. The Gripen fighters are now based at Sigonella, Sicily, Italia.
This Swedish Gripen force is designated FL 01 and is basically the Expeditionary Air Wing which is formed as a part of the EU´s Nordic Battle Group. In addition to the eight Gripen C/D aircraft, FL 01 also consists of a C-130 Hercules. The Gripen force was rapidly deployed from the Swedish Air Force F 17 Wing at Ronneby, Sweden, and all were in place at Sigonella within only two days after the Parliament decision.
The Swedish Air Force is well prepared for the mission, having taken part in numerous international exercises since many years back, most noticeably the Red Flag exercises in USA since 2006. There Gripen has shown that it is a multi-role fighter, with full capability to operate in the three roles air-to-air, air-to-ground and reconnaissance.
The mandate from the Swedish Parliament for this mission does not include air-to-ground operations so the Swedish AF Gripen will operate in the air defence and reconnaissance roles over Libya, enforcing the No-Fly Zone.