The JAS-39 Gripen: Sweden’s 4+ Generation Wild Card
Annual multinational support contract option – and coverage of the original for clarity.
Jan 30/14: Support. Saab announces a SEK 174 million (about $27 million) Swedish option to support and maintain Gripen fleets throughout 2014, placed under the June 29/12 multi-year contract. The contract still covers JAS-39 fleets in Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Thailand. South Africa has its own independent support contract, after a long period of bungles and a near-crisis for its fleet (q.v. Dec 19/13).
Work will take place at Saab’s facilities in Linkoping, Arboga, Jarfalla, Gothenburg… and Ostersund, which wasn’t mentioned in the 2012 contract. Saab’s June 2012 announcement placed the contract’s maximum option value at SEK 2 billion (about $283.6 million), but this release has revised that to SEK 1.36 billion (about $208 million), with SEK 795 million allocated so far. Sources: Saab, “FMV places order for Gripen support and maintenance”.
June 29/12: Support. A multi-year support deal with Sweden’s FMV replaces all of the existing Gripen support contracts with a single contract that includes performance-based support and maintenance, extra funding for the MS20 upgrade package, and studies and definition activities for further Gripen development. It covers Gripen fleets in Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Thailand, but not South Africa.
The initial order is SEK 3.6 billion ($510.5 million) plus a series of 1-year options totaling up to SEK 2 billion (currently $283.6 million) until December 2016.
Performance-based activities include spare parts, maintenance of aircraft systems, and technical engineering support. there’s also an international angle, as Saab’s work maintains updated technical publications and logistics solutions for operation of the Gripen system in Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Thailand. Most of the work will take place at Saab’s facilities in Linkoping, Arboga, Jarfalla and Gothenburg. Sources: Saab, “Saab signs support and development agreement with FMV for Gripen”.
As a neutral country with a long history of providing for its own defense against all comers, Sweden also has a long tradition of building excellent high-performance fighters with a distinctive look. From the long-serving Saab-35 Draken (“Dragon,” 1955-2005) to the Mach 2, canard-winged Saab-37 Viggen (“Thunderbolt,” 1971-2005), Swedish fighters have stressed short-field launch from dispersed/improvised air fields, world-class performance, and leading-edge design. This record of consistent project success is nothing short of amazing, especially for a country whose population over this period has ranged from 7-9 million people.
This is DID’s FOCUS Article for background, news, and contract awards related to the JAS-39 Gripen (“Griffon”), a canard-winged successor to the Viggen and one of the world’s first 4+ generation fighters. Gripen remains the only lightweight 4+ generation fighter type in service, its performance and operational economics are both world-class, and it has become one of the most recognized fighter aircraft on the planet. Unfortunately for its builders, that recognition has come from its appearance in Saab and Volvo TV commercials, rather than from hoped-for levels of military export success. With its 4+ generation competitors clustered in the $60-120+ million range vs. the Gripen’s claimed $40-60 million, is there a light at the end of the tunnel for Sweden’s lightweight fighter?
JAS-39: The Gripen Program
Saab’s JAS-39A-D Gripens
Partnerships & Production
JAS-39 Gripen: The Way Forward
The Next Gripens: Industrial
JAS-39 Gripen: Major Events
2006 and earlier
JAS-39 Gripen: Contracts & Awards
2012 – 2013
2010 – 2011
2008 – 2009
2007 and Earlier
Additional Readings & Sources
JAS-39 Gripen: The Platform
JAS-39 Gripen: Ancillary Equipment
Export Competitions: Highlights
News & Views
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