In a deal worth SKr579m ($52.6m), the order will see the contractor design new development and simulation environments for the aircraft, while also developing new support systems that will harmonise the FMV’s Gripen C/D units with the latest E variant.
Saab will also deliver supplementary equipment and hardware for the aircraft.
This is an additional order that comes after the FMV’s contract to develop and test its Gripen C/D rear maintenance and bring C, D and E variants together six months ago.
Saab’s Gripen C/D is a light single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft that performs various combat roles, including air-to-air, air-to-ground, and reconnaissance missions.
Sweden is trying to maintain operational capability
“The upgrade of the Gripen C/D is an important step in maintaining a high level of operational capability in the turbulent world we live in,” Lars Tossman, head of Saab’s Aeronautics division. “It is also important in order for Gripen C/D to operate beyond 2030.”
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Currently, Sweden operates 95 JAS 39 Gripen C/D units that were originally procured between 1996 and 2007. This is a strong fleet of capable aircraft that can travel at Mach 1.2 and an EP-17 electronic display suite, including three multi-function displays for tactical data and a superimposed map.
Recently, Saab also delivered the inaugural Gripen E aircraft to the FMV, as the new series is intended to enter active service in 2025. According to a Saab release from October 2021, approximately 30 Gripen E aircraft were in production.
Gripen E is the latest variation of the Swedish-made fighter jet, costing SKr931.67m per unit; this is considerably more than the previous D and C variants, according to GlobalData’s Sweden Defence Market 2023–2028 report.
Swedish spending on the combat aircraft takes up a large amount of its defence budget. GlobalData intelligence tells us that the combat aircraft segment equates to 41% of the total market value, due to the acquisition of the Gripen E variant.
Due to the cost of the new series, Sweden is balancing its resources by sustaining its enduring C/D fleet into 2030 to offset for the expensive platform.
Additional reporting from Harry McNeil.