Sweden Updates Gripen Offer To Croatia

 - October 24, 2011, 9:00 AM
Swedish Gripens have been active over Libya on reconnaissance missions. The type is being offered to replace Croatia’s elderly MiG-21s. (Photo: Swedish Air Force)

The Swedish Defence and Security Export Agency presented details concerning a proposal to supply Saab Gripen fighters to the Croatian air force on October 14. The most recent proposal covers either eight or 12 JAS 39C/D Gripens and plans for aircraft support and training for pilots and technicians.

Croatian law demands a 100-percent offset, and Saab is committed to meeting that level. According to Pierre Gauffin, Gripen’s marketing director for Croatia, “We offer Croatia industrial cooperation programs designed to create and sustain high-tech jobs, delivering investment and generating sustainable export growth, thus generating means to finance the acquisition of a new fighter system.”

Saab has long viewed Croatia as a potential customer, and in late March 2008 responded to a late 2007 request for proposals for new fighters. Then Saab was proposing 10 JAS 39Cs and two JAS 39D two-seaters in a deal said to be worth around $1.1 billion. The new fighter was supposed to be in service this year, but the Croatian government has delayed its decision. Now, with its elderly MiG-21s barely operational, the acquisition process has been given new impetus.

To maintain an air defense capability during the period between the MiG-21s being withdrawn and a new fighter becoming available, the Swedish government has offered to loan older JAS 39A/B Gripens to Croatia, should it choose to purchase new Saab aircraft.