Saab has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Swiss aircraft manufacturer Pilatus Aircraft to work together in the replacement of the Swedish Air Force’s existing pilot trainer aircraft.
As part of agreement, the two companies will offer the Pilatus PC-21 pilot training system to the Swedish Air Force, if it decides to replace the existing SK 60 fleet.
In addition to this, the MoU addresses the offset obligations of Saab related to the possible purchase of the Gripen multi-role combat aircraft for the Swiss Air Force.
Saab CEO and president Hakan Buskhe said the agreement is a result of a long dialogue that started with the selection of the Gripen E inSwitzerland.
"It truly shows that there are extended business opportunities that can result from the Gripen decision," Buskhe said.
Pilatus Aircraft CEO Markus Bucher said the long-term partnership would benefit both Sweden and Switzerland.
"The Gripen is the optimum aircraft for the Swiss Air Force and the PC-21 provides the best solution for the provision of training to military pilots, in Sweden and elsewhere," Bucher said.
"It will allow Pilatus and around 600 Swiss suppliers to safeguard valuable development and industrial jobs on a long-term basis."
The two companies have also agreed to establish an Aerospace Software Development Center in Switzerland for the development of innovative and safety-related software for their aircraft and associated groundbased systems.
The plans are expected to bring contracts worth approximately half a billion Swiss francs over the next five to eight years, around half of which would go to Pilatus’ Swiss supplier base.
Developed by Saab in the early 1960s, the SK 60 is a jet-driven trainer aircraft with ejection seats for the instructor and trainee, and first entered into the Swedish Air Force’s service in 1967.
Saab is currently under a full turnkey contract with Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) for the Swedish Air Force’s SK 60s and the SK 60s at FMV’s test and evaluation unit.
Image: A PC-21 basic trainer aircarft in flight. Photo: Copyright © Pilatus Aircraft Ltd.