Monday, June 30, 2014

Sweden Opts For New Gripen E Fighter Aircraft Instead of Remanufactured Ones

The Swedish parliament has voted in favor of amending the existing contract for the delivery of 60 Gripen E fighter aircraft. Originally, the aircraft were to be converted from existing Gripen C currently used. The Swedish Air Force will now receive completely new aircraft instead of remanufactured ones.

This change comes shortly after the Gripen program suffered a setback when the public in Switzerland voted against the purchase of 22 Gripen E/F fighter aircraft. Switzerland had been expected the become the first export customer for the latest variant of the Gripen and Swiss pilots had already taken active part in the testing and development of the Gripen E/F.

If Switzerland does not purchase the Gripen, production of the Gripen E/F would almost certainly be affected and very likely raise the cost of the aircraft. This raises the importance for Sweden of finding a new partner, the most obvious one being Brazil, which selected the Gripen E/F as its new fighter. A contract with Brazil would help lessen the loss in Switzerland.

The Swedish decision to go for new aircraft also means that there will be many more used Gripen aircraft available that could be leased to other Air Forces. Used Gripen aircraft are currently being leased to Hungary and the Czech Republic. South Africa and Thailand are the other users besides Sweden itself.

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