Offer for 64 Aircraft for HX Fighter Requirement
This has been a busy end to January for Saab. Following the announcement of its offer to Switzerland for 30-40 GRIPEN E combat aircraft on 25 January (see MONCh story at https://www.monch.com/mpg/news/air/4881-gripen-for-switzerrland.html ), the Swedish firm has today announced its formal offer of the aircraft to Finland, in response to the Request for Proposals for that nation’s HX fighter programme released last April.
The offer submitted to the Logistics Command of the Finnish Defence Forces, which manages procurement programmes, is for 64 GRIPEN E/F (single- and dual-seat respectively), incorporating the latest available technology for a continuously changing adversary and a very challenging operational environment, according to the company.
“The outstanding capabilities of GRIPEN are an excellent match for the Finnish needs and requirements. With GRIPEN, Finland can renew its fighter fleet without compromising on the number of fighters owing to a truly competitive life-cycle cost. Our offer constitutes a substantial contribution to the operational capability of the Finnish Defence Forces,” commented Senior Vice President and head of Saab business area Aeronautics, Jonas Hjelm.
As part of the proposal, Saab is offering a substantial weapon and sensor package, as well as the equipment and associated services required for operating the system, including an industrial co-operation programme that aims to build extensive national capabilities in Finland for security of supply. It also includes transfer of maintenance, repair and overhaul capabilities to local industry, production of aircraft and establishment of a GRIPEN sustainment and development centre in Finland. The Saab proposal is made with the support of the Swedish government, which is following the programme closely as it awaits its first aircraft.
The GRIPEN E programme is on track and running to plan, according to the company, with customer deliveries scheduled to commence later this year. Five nations currently operate GRIPEN – Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa, Sweden and Thailand, while both Brazil and Sweden have GRIPEN E on order – the former having also ordered GRIPEN F. The renowned Empire Test Pilots School in Britain also uses GRIPEN for test pilot training.
According to official plans, Finland’s decision on the HX procurement is expected in 2021.