Following the signing of a contract by the Kingdom of Thailand for six fighters, Saab is celebrating the capture of its first Gripen customer in the region. The deal also covers the supply of two Saab 340 twin-turboprop airliners, one configured with the Saab Microwave Systems Erieye radar for airborne early warning. Thailand plans to use the other for training and transport.
Royal Thai Air Force
After a long-running procurement saga, the Royal Thai Air Force has selected the Saab Gripen to replace its elderly Northrop F-5 fighter fleet. The deal also covers the supply of airborne early warning aircraft to bolster the nation’s air defenses.
With a big, self-contained display outside Hall A here, Gripen International signals its determination to compete in Asia. And elsewhere, of course. Sales and marketing director Bob Kemp told journalists here this week that he expects the Swedish fighter to gain 200 export orders over the next 10 years–just under 10 percent of his estimate for the total combat aircraft market.
The Gripen team occupies the high ground at the Farnborough show this year in a new prime-site chalet and with the Swedish fighter flying a daily solo routine. Meanwhile, seven Swedish Air Force Gripen fighters flew to Alaska this past weekend to participate in their first “Red Flag” exercise. In practical terms, that deployment will demonstrate more about the Gripen’s capability and prospects than the marketing effort going on here.
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