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Swiss pick Saab's Gripen fighter

Swiss pick Saab's Gripen fighter

Published: 30 Nov 2011 17:13 GMT+01:00
Updated: 30 Nov 2011 17:13 GMT+01:00

The Swiss government on Wednesday confirmed their intention to purchase 22 Swedish Saab Gripen Fighter jets, choosing the less expensive Swedish plane over the Eurofighter or the Rafaele.

”What is good for Sweden and other countries must also be good for Switzerland,” said minister for defence Ueli (Ulrich) Mauer at a press conference on Wednesday.

According to Mauer it was Gripen's qualities, price, as well as the industrial relationship with the Saab defence group that clinched the deal.

Rumours regarding the purchase were circulating already early on Wednesday, making defence and security company Saab stocks surge on market.

News agency TT reported that the local papers estimated the sale being worth close to 22 billion Swedish kronor ($3.29 billion).

The Swiss decision to go with Gripen was controversial and local Swiss media pointed out that it would cost Switzerland significantly less than would the same number of the Eurofighter or the French Rafaele.

Gripen allegedly didn't do that well in two of the tests performed, but the fighter's advocates argue that the aircraft has previously done better and that it is the overall performance that would count.

However, critics claim that the price tag ultimately closed the deal.

”The purchase of Gripen might not mean that we get the best fighter plane in Europe. But we'll have a plane that meets our expectations – and we haven't planned to break any world records in this area,” Mauer said at the press conference.

Before the Swiss press conference the Saab group said they were aware of what the Swiss papers were claiming but wouldn't confirm nor deny the information until official confirmation had been received.

According to the company website, the Saab group will hold a press conference later on Wednesday in Stockholm.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:57 November 30, 2011 by jimfromcanada
While not a glowing testimonial to the Gripen it is good news for Saab and the Swedish aerospace industry. Now, Brazil.
19:19 November 30, 2011 by sunnchilde
This is such a nothing story. OF COURSE
20:50 November 30, 2011 by flygwair
New California regional looking for 30 new SAAB 2000 Turboprops.

Will SAAB resume production of the 50 seat planes ?
10:03 December 1, 2011 by philster61
What are the Swiss going to use it for? Bombing avalanches?
10:37 December 1, 2011 by Abe L
Good, 3+ billion dollar deals is what the Swedish economy needs!
11:15 December 1, 2011 by Rick Methven
@flygwair.

The SAAB 2000 was the wrong aircraft at the wrong time that ended SAAB's commercial aircraft adventure. The production line will never be started again.
14:23 December 1, 2011 by DavidtheNorseman
The Grippen is an excellent plane and with Switzerland's small size and defensive posture, will be fine. It's ease of repair and rugged abilities (to use highways etc for take off and landing) make me almost wish the Canadian gov't had opted for it over here, but with our range of operations even as a purely defense weapon it isn't practicable for us here...Congrats to Saab. Those Grippens will look great over the Alps, too :-)
13:53 December 2, 2011 by Eagle63
@ DavidtheNorseman

I agree; in some regards the Gripen would have been great for Canada,

although twin-engined the CF-18 isn't bad at all..
19:42 December 2, 2011 by tadchem
With top-dollar military hardware the logistics is the most important consideration. You'll get a lot more 'bang for your buck' (pun intended) if you can produce all the parts and supplies you need for yourself rather than relying on an 'ally' or three who just might not come through for you in a pinch.
20:39 December 2, 2011 by Thomas VH
What is the maintenance tail on the Gripen? Historically, one of the keys to the venerable J35 Draken's success was that it required so little maintenance. US fighters often require one to two hours of maintenance per one hour of combat flight time; the J35 Draken would instead fly two hours and then need just 15 to 30 minutes of work.

Readiness is much higher as well -- having 80% readiness with 20 aircraft in the squadron means that 16 can fly TODAY. Having 40% readiness with a Rafaele, means that you have to buy 40 aircraft to have the same relative combat power -- something which vastly boosts Saab's attractive in the world market.

Also, critically, the price of a fighter jet is far more than its acquisition cost alone -- the life cycle cost of the Gripen is far lower than the Eurofighter or Rafaele, as I understand it. Again, that's what makes Saab's JAS series so compelling for buyers -- in an increasingly budget constrained world, these things matter a lot. I am always surprised that Saab doesn't use that fact more in its marketing.
22:44 December 2, 2011 by eurothan
Too bad for Dassault that the French governement entered into a fight over tax issues with the Swiss as late as early November as it was broadly acknowledged that the Rafale (and not Rafaele) got by far the best grade in tests taking place in Switzerland and was the Swiss air force prefered choice.

The French were even ready to share their crowded airspace and the St Dizier airbase to train Swiss pilots...

I am glad they bought Swedish fighters instead of American ones.
19:17 December 5, 2011 by Evrin
@ philster61: lol :)
13:50 December 6, 2011 by tigger007
@eurothan! well the swiss did buy american,because the grippen uses american parts(weapons and AVI tech) if sweden produces it's own parts then it would be totally swedish and prices would fall. like tadchem said in his comment!
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