Following a recommendation from the Swiss procurement agency Armasuisse Saab will not send a Gripen to participate in flight tests aimed at deciding the next fighter aircraft for the Swiss Air Force.
The recommendation, due to the fact that the Swiss only want to test fighters operational in 2019 comes following the previous competition which was won by the Gripen E and the deal for 22 aircraft for 3.1 billion Swiss francs was rejected by the Swiss people in a referendum.
According to a press release on their website, Saab states [We believe that], “Gripen E is the best choice for Switzerland and the offer, as presented in January 2019, still stands. Saab is committed to deliver at least 40 Gripen E fighter aircraft on time, meeting requirements and within planned budget, including a comprehensive support concept with local contribution, guaranteeing the most affordable operating costs and the highest level of autonomy.”
Gripen E is arguably the worlds foremost light fighter aircraft, with capabilities that make it competitive with larger aircraft such as the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale. The E model, formally known as Gripen NG is currently in development and will be fielded by Sweden and Brazil (plus any other export customers).
Nick Ashwell-Rice has worked in aviation and defence journalism since 2014 whilst also maintaining a career outside of the industry. He has been Editor-in-Chief at Talking Aero since its inception