Saab will provide the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) maintenance and material support for its Gripen C, D and E aircraft; the total value of the order is Skr345m ($31.7m).

FMV’s order mainly comprises operations relating to rigs, simulators and test aircraft fro verification and validation of the Gripen fighter aircraft system, versions C, D and E as well as operational support for C and D.

“We look forward to continuing to support out customers by delivering the support they need to optimally conducts their operations,” the Head of the Aeronautics business area at Saab, Lars Tossman, stated.

The work will primarily be carried out at Saab’s facilities in Lonkoping, Gothenburg, Jarfalla and Arboga.

Sweden’s Gripen force structure as it pursues Nato membership

The Gripen is a fourth-generation multirole fighter that has been in service with the Swedish air force since 1996. The new E variant is far more advanced than the current platforms in service. Originally, designed as a lightweight, affordable, and easy to maintain and operate aircraft, the Swedish Air Force’s first batch of Gripens was delivered at 10% below the price agreed with Saab.

As well as its Gripen E production, Sweden is currently in the process of upgrading or replacing its C and D models with the newer E and F models, with a new engine, an AESA radar, infrared search and track, and various other upgrades to ensure the platform remains competitive in a 21st century threat environment. This newer model has a significantly higher unit cost at $85m.

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Sweden’s defence budget has reached $8.7bn in 2023, about 1.4% of its GDP, up from 1.2% in 2022, and equating to a yearly increase of 17.3%, according to GlobalData’s report ‘Sweden Defence Market, 2023-2028’.

While only spending $5.4m on the E variant in 2022-23, Sweden appears to be allocating more of its budget toward the sustainment of its fourth-generation C, D and E versions at the moment. However, while the country increases the percentage of its GDP toward defence to 2%, we may begin to see the country begin greater production of the Gripen E and F variants after its Nato ascendancy.