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May 8 2024

Fifth JAS-39 Gripen Users Group exercise Lion Effort in Czechia

RAMSTEIN, Germany - From May 9 to 27, the Czech Air Base at Čáslav will host exercise Lion Effort that brings together the countries that operate JAS-39 Gripen fighter aircraft also known as Gripen Users Group or GUG. The exercise will also integrate NATO’s Ramstein Guard electronic warfare drills.  

The aim of the Lion Effort exercise series is to share experiences of the air forces operating the Gripen aircraft

“Among the 500 soldiers participating in Lion Effort, there will be about 150 members of the air forces of Hungary, Sweden, Thailand and Brazil, and we will conduct flying manoreuvres with more than 20 aircraft including Gripen,” said Major Zuzana Sekaninová, press officer of the Air Force Command of the Czech Armed Force.

Exercise Lion Effort 2024 - The Czech Air Force hosts this year's meeting of the Gripen User Group participants at Čáslav Air Base. Archive photo courtesy Czech Air Force. 

Lion Effort 2024 - The Hungarian Air Force was the first GUG nation to host this meeting of JAS-39 Gripen air and ground crew in 2009. Archive photo by Chris Howe. 

Exercise Lion Effort 2024 - The single-engine fighter, attack and reconnaissance aircraft JAS-39 Gripen entered service in the Swedish Air Force  in 1996. Archive photo courtesy  Swedish Air Force. 
"Exercise Lion Effort 2024 will be exceptional this year for several reasons. First, the Swedish Air Force will participate in the exercise for the first time as the 32nd member of the North Atlantic Alliance," said Air Force Commander Major General Petr Čepelka. “Second, we are integrating the NATO Ramstein Guard drills into Lion Effort aimed at conducting combat activities in a challenging electronic warfare (EW) environment and last but not least we are pleased to have observers from our GUG colleagues in Thailand with us,” he concluded.

The flying part of Lion Effort 2024 will occur between May 13 and 24. The Czech, Hungarian and Swedish Gripen operating out of Čáslav will be fliyng with Czech L-159 fighters and C-295 CASA transport aircraft. German Eurofighter Typhoon and Polish F-16 fighters and A-330 MRTT refueling aircraft will support the exercise operating from the home bases. During the Ramstein Guard phase, the Draken contractor will fly FA-20 Falcon aircraft and operate ground-based jammers to create a realistic simulated EW environment.

The main aim of the Lion Effort exercise series is to share experiences of various GUG members in operating the Gripen aircraft e.g. in different climatic conditions. Pilots from several nations will fly alongside each other exploiting similarities and synergies a common flying platform offers.

Organised in a three-year rotating pattern, Lion Effort 2024 is the fifth GUG exercise and Czechia hosts it for the second time after 2015. The first iteration took place in Hungary in 2009; the country also hosted the event in 2018. The 2012 edition was held in Sweden and in 2021 the exercise was cancelled due to the COVID pandemic.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office based on input provided by the Czech Air Force

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