|JAS 39 Gripen (c) Guinnog|
A small European country buys the lowest operating cost modern multi-role combat aircraft that's available*, in small quantity, and intends to operate them in a joint squadron with a somewhat bigger neighbouring country.
That's a lot of common sense if compared to the stuff the Western Great Powers' air forces pull off regularly.
On the other hand, Gripens will be of little use other than keeping and maintaining some air war know-how. Anything much less capable (such as a combat version of a subsonic trainer, for example) would probably not be taken seriously and might miss the opportunities associated with multinational air war exercises and pilot exchanges.
There might be 200+ PAK-FA fighters involved in a conflict sometime in the 2020's. Gripens and most pre-2000 combat aircraft in general might then be forced to wait till the PAK-FA threat has been diminished. PAK-FA's low observability and supercruise range would make combat air patrol escorts for attack aircraft unreliable, so even support by more capable fighters wouldn't suffice for Gripens then. Quite similarly, S-400 air defence regiments might keep Gripens from being useful in an early phase as well.
|Argentinian Curtiss Model 75-O|
Overall, the Gripen may prove to be a modern equivalent of a Curtiss Model 75 Hawk series; an affordable fine combat aircraft without the latest gold plating, but second rate and limited to ground attack under favourable conditions if to be employed in a conflict years after its procurement.
*: Except maybe the FA-50.