Rising Gripen Sales Show Global Need For Light Fighter Aircraft

  • Bindiya Thomas
  • 12:24 PM, December 2, 2014
  • 6510
Rising Gripen Sales Show Global Need For Light Fighter Aircraft
Rising Gripen Sales Show Global Need For Light Fighter Aircraft

The Saab Gripen is quietly usurping fighter aircraft sales while competitors like the Lockheed F-35 face cuts in global sales orders.


In October, Saab won a $5.4 billion contract for the development and production of 36 Gripen NG fighter for Brazil.


The order comprises of 28 single seat and eight two-seat Gripen NG aircraft for Brazil’s air force. The delivery is expected to start in 2019, the company said in a statement today.



The Argentine Defense Minister Agustín Rossi announced on October 21 that his government will soon negotiate on purchase of 24 Swedish-designed Gripen NG combat aircraft that will be produced in Brazil.


The order is part of Saab’s existing agreement with the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration (FMV) covering activity for the Gripen E from 2013 to 2026. Delivery will begin in 2016. This is the fourth order under the Gripen E agreement between Saab and FMV announced on 15 February 2013. Three earlier orders, linked to the development and production of Gripen E, were received during 2013.


SAAB would have had the Swiss order too but the issue of public opposition to big ticket defence procurement led to a referendum in which the proposal to buy Gripen fighter was defeated. 


The Gripen is currently operated by a number of countries including Thailand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Hungary among others while countries like Slovakia and Bulgaria are considering procuring the aircraft.


In fact, in September the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Sweden have signed a letter of intent agreeing to co-operate on using the Saab Gripen fighter paving the way for a potential Slovakian acquisition of the aircraft.


The aircraft is currently in competition with the Eurofighter Typhoon, Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet and Lockheed's F-35A Joint Strike Fighter to replace Denmark’s 30-year old Lockheed F-16AM/BM fighters.


Meanwhile, Saab is also expected to participate in the competition to replace Indonesia’ decades-old F-5 Tigers aircraft. Saab released a statement yesterday underlining why its Gripen fighter was the most suitable candidate for Indonesia.


Among the aircraft being evaluated are the Russian Sukhoi Su-35, the American Boeing F-15 Eagle and Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, and the Swedish SAAB JAS 39 Gripen, said Gen. Moeldoko, Indonesia's top military commander.


One major reason the JAS-39 Gripen is preferred among air forces could be that Saab offers key industrial opportunities. Also because it is a high-performance fighter with low price and operating costs.


The Gripen was Brazil’s cheapest option in terms of service life. Unlike the Dassault Rafale, the JAS Gripen could save its full contracted cost of acquisition and maintenance and is reportedly twice as economical.



The can carry most of weapons of its heavier and more expensive competitors such as Eurofighter and Rafale. It can be armed with METEOR, AMRAAM, IRIS-T, AIM-9 missiles



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