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Sweden offers cut price fighters to Romania

AFP/The Local · 16 Apr 2010, 07:04

Published: 16 Apr 2010 07:04 GMT+02:00

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The offer matches the number of jets offered by the United States, but does not contain ammunition like the US offer.

Romania's Supreme Council announced in March its decision to buy 24 second-hand F-16 jets for $1.3 billion dollars, a purchase which is to be submitted to parliament for approval.

Jerry Lindbergh, a Swedish government official in charge of defence exports, gave details of the offer at a news conference in Bucharest.

He said Sweden could provide 24 new "fully NATO interoperable Gripen C/D fighters, including training, support, logistics and 100 percent offset for the amount of €1 billion."

The money could be paid over 15 years with low interest rates.

Sweden's ambassador to Romania Mats Aberg said it was "Romania's sovereign right to choose the multirole jets it wanted", but to provide all information on the Swedish offer, he had sought a meeting with the parliament defence commission chairman.

Story continues below…

Swedish group Saab said in March it was "surprised" by Romania's choice of second hand F-16 aircraft.

Bucharest is also considering buying 24 new F-16 jets and later 24 F-35 jets, the defence ministry said, stressing this was part of the Romanian-US "strategic partnership."

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:58 April 16, 2010 by Kronaboy
Makes sense to me 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing, besides the Gripen is the better aircraft.
13:57 April 16, 2010 by MichaelZWilliamson
Gripen? Better? I suppose if you define slower, less payload, higher mean time between failures, less mission capabilities and twice the new price as "better."

Even second hand F16s crap all over the Gripen, and also allow readier access to spare parts, US training and US support personnel. Cut the Gripen price to $500mil and throw in munitions and you'd have a fair offer. That would be 50% of something. However, Romania wants 100% of something.
14:14 April 16, 2010 by Marc the Texan
I'm torn on this since I'm usually a Sweden booster. The F-16 is getting a little long in the tooth now, but it is one of the best fighters ever designed. The father of one of my childhood friends actually help design the F-16 so I'm biased as well. He was quite proud of that achievement back in the day. I think the F-16 can still hold its own, even against 5th generation fighters.
14:15 April 16, 2010 by Kevin Harris
A nice move by SAAB; shame about their profit margin going out the window. It makes it difficult for the Romanian militiary purchasers to explain when they turned down shiny new Swedish airplanes and buy worn-out second hand American airplanes instead. They will of course take the worn-out second hand American airplanes, and it will have nothing to do with quality, performance or cost, and everything to do with the dark mysterious ways of the international arms industry.
14:27 April 16, 2010 by Audrian
Strategi partnership could be a coded message to mean that that bribes have been received!
14:39 April 16, 2010 by The Watcher
They are forced to buy from US.The same was with India.Swedish brands are very rated in Romania, more than other European brands. But when US boots are on your neck you don't have a choice.
15:14 April 16, 2010 by Icarusty
You WILL buy America or we Yanks will pay you a visit. Simples!
15:26 April 16, 2010 by eddie123
why buy fighter planes? whose going to war? and why should a nation whose never been to war in over 200 years be selling war planes to South Africa, Romania, Thailand and the like? why can't Swedes question the immorality in this?
15:42 April 16, 2010 by rumcajs
@eddie 123,

"why can't Swedes question the immorality in this?" Cos of the same reason why the 90% of people in the world don't question the immorality in sooo many things: We've been told once and again that that's the way it is.

Once a scientist put5 monkeys in a cage and in the middle of the cage a box with bananas. Every time 1 monkey went for the bananas, they put cold water on the other 4 monkeys. Evently everytime a monkey tried 2 go 4 the bananas, the other 4 beated the s*t outa him. They replaced one monkey and the new one tried too, but the othet 4 beated him. They replaced another and another and at the end they had 5 brand new monkeys that din't eat bananas and none of them knew why.
16:00 April 16, 2010 by Kronaboy
could the monkeys fly F16s or were they American?
16:04 April 16, 2010 by Icarusty

That's a good story. Do you know where I can buy monkeys in bulk?
18:05 April 16, 2010 by efm
F16 is older but has been proven.

Again parts and engines are all replaceable and can be updated. Avionics can be replaced easily as well.

Remember the C130. It's been around for so many years, but still does it's role well.
18:24 April 16, 2010 by swedekk
#2, Gripen is considered better than F-16. I really doubt that you are able to make a full comparison between weapon systems. It's more than number of bombs and speed. The B-52 would be a better fighter than F-16 in terms of tones it can carry if we use your statement: "less payload".
18:51 April 16, 2010 by babychuma
An avowed neutral country hot to sell weapons? Feels kind of wrong, good to have jobs for Swedes but I worry about the ethics of fueling strife elsewhere, let's pound our swords into plowshears. Let the Americans deal in death.
19:52 April 16, 2010 by MichaelZWilliamson
I've served in F16 units, and I don't see how you can possibly claim the Gripen is better. It pulls less Gs and otherwise has an inferior performance envelope, it performs less missions, it carries less payload for those missions, it has less variety of munitions it can carry, it is slower, it is twice the unit cost, it is subject to more maintenance per flying hour, it suffers more failures. It has a bit more range, but that's because it doesn't carry any payload. It has less upgrades and spare parts available. It has less trained support crew and equipment--there's are 4400 F16s flown by 25 nations.

Now, how is it better? The only thing "Better" would be that it would earn money for Sweden. That's a very subjective position that no one else considers.

The F16 is still the US front line fighter, and still stomps on just about everything else on the planet. The Gripen is not a contender.

As to selling weapons, this is the real world. The bleats about peace have fallen on deaf ears for 5000 years.
19:54 April 16, 2010 by Just_Kidding
Any nation needs some kind of air force so its neighboring countries would control their greed and wouldn't start a war. SAAB is still much nicer than those Frenches or Russians who sold Saddam Hussein Mirage F1's and Sokhoi's during Iran-Iraq war.
20:07 April 16, 2010 by anticommie
Its such a good AC we have to give it away to get rid of it, sorry about that flaw that ejects the pilots for no reason. The gripen cant hold it weight to the F16.
22:00 April 16, 2010 by Bensonradar
"but does not contain ammunition like the US offer." Great, then fire blanks. Romania's quest for multi-role jets is based on what exact perceived military threat? Who is going to attack it, and who does it want to attack?

Military posturing, and having the toys to kill others, allows politicians to eat at the high table with the other warmongers.

Why is a neutral country like Sweden even in the arms business? Smacks of immorality. Turn them into plough shares and sell them to the farmers.

America will sell arms to anyone to earn dollars to prop up its failing economy. But when US boots are on your neck you don't have a choice - you hit the nail on the head there buddy boy.

Saab should stick to cars and develop hydrogen cars to save the planet. This would be an export earner. Better than exporting death. Leave that to the imperialists.
22:41 April 16, 2010 by dew_pansy
I personally think that world should be place of peace instead of fighting but every nation should have right to protect its dignity.
00:30 April 17, 2010 by skisalomon
"America will sell arms to anyone to earn dollars to prop up its failing economy. "

You do realize that Sweden is one of the leading defence and arms exporting countries in the world, right?
20:07 April 17, 2010 by earthworm
Dignity is important, this must be respected.

Our nation(America) should be selling things that benefit the people.

Some of the posters here, as in other places, are awash in fear and ignorance, a prevalent problem with our "tea baggers".
06:30 April 18, 2010 by MichaelZWilliamson
earthworm: Is tossing bigoted obscenities around about people who disagree with your politics the way you maintain the moral high ground?

If so, bravo.
19:05 April 18, 2010 by Alex Coman

I understand you don t know which are the enemies of Romania.

I ll help you. ALL the countries around Romania are in cold war-you know, Balkans (read about it, you can find some info on wiki) Ukraine, Hungary...

So many frozen conflicts in the same place. If don t know nothing about it, please, at least, say nothing on this topic. It is a complex one...
00:28 April 19, 2010 by americanska
Used F16s.....better than the new Gripens.

Used Gripens........scrap metal.

It's kind of like paying the same price for a used PS3 or a new Wii.
17:06 April 19, 2010 by dmj123
I have worked in the military on aircraft. The difference between an aircraft with 10,000 hours and a new aircraft is very small. Anything which is not to factory specs is removed and replaced during any of the pre and post flight checks. In addition aircraft go through annual and pre deployment checks as well. Nothing, NOTHING, which is the least bit out of spec makes it through these checks. It isn't like the family care which gets ocassional oil changes and car washes in the interum steadily degrades. All the information I have seen says that the F-16 is the better fighter for all around service. In the military you buy for bang not for that new plane smell. After looking at the published performance specs it makes me wonder why the Saab types even bothered fielding an aircraft with so little improvement over existing designs. The military, all military needs to have new items which offer bigger payload, longer range, and better survivability. If you can't offer at least some of the above you need to go back to the drawing board.
23:56 April 19, 2010 by MikeSar
After the ugly event on chosing a USAF tanker, and many other cases, am I the first to suggest that people in Europe are not immune to temptations?

Take the extreme case of comparing five fully equiped JAS-39NG versus One, only one JTF or F-35, which keeps on going up in price and down on take-off payload and has yet to take off from the Air Foce Academy near high altitude Denver. Why, do you think this has not been even attempted? Because they know the results?

Remember, the second engine Congress adds and the Administration rejects? (Or,viceversa?) The project is so far behind and over budget, an old rule adopted to prevent such extreme failures came, again, into play and "they" were deprived of a "300+ Million" reward for their failures.

Yet, they want to buy that airplane that could be shot down by one long range rifle, instead of five JAS-39NG for the same cost. This, does not pass an smell test!

Have they even verified the minimum altitude and speed the pilot could even detect a tank, truck or gun site? All they need is a simulator, or rent the one in Linkoping to find out. Something is rotten in, what was the name of the country? I forget.
20:49 April 21, 2010 by jimfromcanada
I think that the Gripen has some advantages over the F16. It is designed to operate from dispersed hwy runways serviced by less skilled support staff.

As to why Sweden has a disproportionately large arms industry, you have to look at history. For a long time Sweden was a neutral country, and as such was not able to depend on alliances to help defend its territory. It had to be prepared to defend itself with weapons that it could manufacture and maintain on its own. So it did.

One way of keeping the costs down is to be very good at building weapons so that they are in demand by other nations so that you can generate export sales. Another way of keeping costs down is to have a rationalized planning and procurement strategy so that your aviation industry, for example, can do the long term research and development to bring weapons systems on line in a timely manner for a reasonable cost. The arms industry in USA, Britain, and Canada, for example are rife with overbudget, late pork barrel projects due to the ever present political interference in the competition and tendering processes.
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