Saab has received a contract from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) for modification of Gripen C fighter aircraft to more advanced Gripen E configuration.
The SEK16.4bn ($2.5bn) contract represents the third order under the initial SEK47.2bn ($7.4bn) agreement signed between the company and FMV for Gripen E aircraft in February 2013.
Under the contract, the company will convert a total of 60 Gripen C aircraft to Gripen E during the 2013 to 2026 period, with initial deliveries starting in 2014.
Saab president and CEO Håkan Buskhe said the order is further proof of the Swedish Parliament’s confidence in Gripen, its development potential and defence capacity.
”Furthermore, it is confirmation that the programme is proceeding according to plan," Buskhe said.
Saab Aeronautics business area deputy CEO and head Lennart Sindahl said the company is currently performing major performance improvements that will establish Gripen E as the fighter aircraft of the future both for Sweden and for other countries.
”Our existing customers that operate the Gripen C/D version will also be able to take advantage of some of the development in their future upgrades,” Sindahl said.
In addition to this, the company secured a SEK186m ($28.4m) FMV contract for integration of the Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) onto the Gripen E fighter during the 2013 to 2023 timeframe, within the framework of the initial contract.
Saab Gripen product unit head Ulf Nilsson said the contract confirms Gripen’s position as the leading fighter system with a flexible design that offers great possibilities to integrate new capabilities.
Remaining orders under the February contract are expected to be awarded in 2014.
A next-generation variant of the JAS 39 Gripen, the Gripen E will feature more powerful engines, enhanced sensor suite, a fully digital cockpit, including head-up display (HUD) system, new communication links, increased flight time, more weapon stations and load capability and a new electronic warfare system.
Image: A Gripen E/F aircraft stationed at Emmen Airbase in Switzerland. Photo: © 2010 Saab Group.