Saab has secured a contract from Armscor to provide support services for Gripen fighters operated by the South African Air Force.

Valued at SEK206m ($24.6m), the contract covers the delivery of airworthiness management, engineering support, maintenance, repair and overhaul, spares replenishment, and updates of technical publications until February 2020.

Saab Support and Services business area head Ellen Molin said: “Signing this contract further reinforces the good relationship between Saab, Armscor, and the South African Air Force.

“This order is vital to support the effective operation and availability of Gripen C and D in South Africa over the coming years.”

South Africa has been operating Gripen fighter aircraft since 2008.

The Gripen multi-role fighter aircraft can perform a wide range of air-to-air, air-to-surface, and reconnaissance missions employing a modern range of weapons.

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It has Link 16 that is used for battlespace control in large Nato-led operations, as well as digital CAS and video link for cooperation with Forward Air Controllers on the ground.

“This order is vital to support the effective operation and availability of Gripen C and D in South Africa over the coming years.”

The aircraft features delta wing and canards, along with the digital fly-by-wire flight control system.

This Nato-compatible and globally interoperable aircraft has recorded more than 250,000 flight hours so far.

The Gripen C-series is currently in service with several airforces around the world, which include Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa, and Thailand.

The UK Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS) also operates Gripen as its advanced fast jet platform for test pilots worldwide.