Eight Gripen fighter aircraft from the Swedish Armed Forces are currently taking part in the NATO led 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 deploy up to 130 people for this mission, including ten Gripen pilots, for a period of up to three months. The Gripen fighters are now based at Sigonella, Sicily, Italy.
This Swedish Gripen force is designated FL 01 and is basically the Expeditionary Air Wing, which was 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 just two days following the Parliament's decision.
The Swedish Air Force is well prepared for the mission, having taken part in numerous international exercises over a period of many years, notably the Red Flag exercises in USA since 2006. In these exercises, Gripen has shown that it is a multi-role fighter, with full capability to operate in air-to-air, air-to-ground and reconnaissance roles. 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.