Saab’s beastly looking anti-ship cruise missile, the RBS15, is to be upgraded and installed on the Sweden’s new E-series JAS 39 Gripen and Visby-class corvette.

The newest Robotsystem15 (RBS) Mark 3 is already operational as a surface-to-surface weapon for ships and coastal defense batteries, but the Swedish Air Force has not adopted a new air-launched model since the RBS15F in 1982. While today’s C-series Gripen can carry two RBS15Fs per sortie, the Gripen E that will soon take its maiden flight can carry four. This feat is made possible by a more powerful GE F414-39E engine, additional fuel capacity and reconfigured weapons stations.

The Swedish Defense Material Administration awarded Saab an SEK$3.2 billion (US$360 million) contract in March for development of the improved anti-ship weapon, tentatively called the extended-range RBS15F (air-launched), RBS15 Mark 3+ (ship-launched) or RBS16.

Michael Höglund, Saab’s head of missile systems marketing and sales, says the development program will run from 2017-26 with initial deliveries in the mid-2020s.

Meanwhile, the Gripen is about to begin its flight test campaign with deliveries to the Swedish and Brazilian air forces starting around 2019. Sweden’s first squadron of single-seat E-models will be ready for combat by late-2023, the Swedish Air Force says.