Ruag has received a contract from Saab to manufacture and supply pylons for Gripen E fighter aircraft.
Under the terms of the CHF68m ($76.8m) contract, which includes four work packages, the company will supply pylons for use in the 22 Gripen E fighters intended for the Swiss Air Force, and 60 Swedish aircraft.
Valued at CHF15.5m ($17.5m), the three work packages are effective immediately and include the design of pylons, their development to serial production, and manufacturing of prototypes for three Gripen E test aircraft that will fly before serialisation of the aircraft.
The company has already signed an agreement with small and medium size subcontractors from the French and Italian speaking regions of Switzerland, to fulfil a fifth of the contract.
Saab industrial cooperation programme source Henry Johansson said the pylons are high-tech products, and "need to be – just like Gripen itself – aerodynamically designed and have to withstand extreme loads. They also contain electronic and mechanical parts, such as a release mechanism."
Saab Deputy CEO Lennart Sindahl said the contract is another step to build long term business relations with Swiss industry in the Gripen programme.
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"We are in the process to contract even more parts of Gripen E in Switzerland in order to strengthen the collaboration between the countries in the programme," Sindahl said.
The pylons are important and significant structural parts of Gripen E, and serve as mounts for weapons, reconnaissance pods and external fuel tanks.
Conditional on the outcome of the referendum in May 2014, the Gripen E sale to Switzerland is contingent on Saab delivering an industrial cooperation programme with Swiss industry, valued at CHF2.2bn ($2.4bn).
Having already arranged CHF300m ($339m) worth of business with 125 Swiss companies by the end of 2013, the company now has ten years to fulfil its remaining obligation.
Sindahl said the company is continuously working to increase the number of business partners with whom it can build long term business.
"This could include a Swiss software consortium to perform advanced software development in the Gripen E programme," Sindahladded.
In addition to this, the suppliers of Gripen E weapons have an additional offset obligation of CHF300m ($339m), taking Switzerland’s total industrial programme to CHF2.5bn ($2.8bn).
Image: A Gripen E/F aircraft stationed at Emmen Airbase in Switzerland. Photo: © 2010 Saab Group.