Attempts by India to fast-track the procurement process for its 126-aircraft Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft requirement have come unstuck as the evaluation process has taken far longer than initially expected.
JAS 39 Gripen
Brazil’s purchase of 36 new fighters has pitted the air force’s preference for the Saab Gripen, backed by a 10-month technical report, against a presidential preference for the Dassault Rafale as part of a “strategic alliance” with France. Second in the air force’s ranking was the Boeing F-18 Super Hornet. According to the newspaper Folha de São Paulo, France reduced the cost of the Rafale package from $12.2 billion to $8.2 billion.
Continued tensions in the Far East and southern Asia are ensuring that the region remains a major sales battleground for the world’s fighter houses. At stake is the sale of several hundred new combat aircraft in the coming years as air arms seek to modernize their forces or, in the case of countries such as Japan and Singapore, stay ahead of the regional threat.
The Saab 340 AEW&C aircraft with Erieye radar, which is destined for the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), took to the skies for the first time on Friday, flying from Saab’s Linkoping plant where airborne early warning and control conversion work is undertaken. Thailand has one AEW&C aircraft on order (plus another option), as part of a deal involving Gripen fighters.
After years of investigation, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said it would seek to prosecute BAE Systems “for offenses related to overseas corruption.” The alleged offenses have been widely reported to involve the sales of Gripen fighter aircraft to South Africa and their lease to the Czech Republic (BAE is a partner with Saab in the Gripen International company); a ground radar system to Tanzania; and two former Royal Navy frigates to R
A top-level handshake in Brazil earlier this month does not necessarily mean the end of that country’s long quest to select a new fighter. Presidents Lula and Sarkozy proclaimed a strategic aerospace partnership after the French leader made a two-day state visit to Brazil.
Boeing unveiled the first F/A-18F Block II Super Hornet for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) at a July 8 ceremony in St. Louis. The aircraft manufacturer is building 24 Super Hornets for Australia, in two batches of 12. The first aircraft is due to be delivered in March 2010, and Australian production will run at roughly one per month. The aircraft will have APG-79 AESA radar installed.
This week the Swedish chief prosecutor, Christer van der Kwast, decided to close the preliminary investigation into alleged illegal methods concerned with the sale of Gripen aircraft. Saab’s communications director, Cecilia Schön Jansson, commented that, “the decision is fully in line with what we have claimed all along. We can now put this behind us.”
In late March Saab announced a teaming agreement with Selex Galileo to develop the ES-05 Raven active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for the Gripen Next Generation fighter program. Selex Galileo is also the lead in the Euroradar consortium developing the Captor radar for the Eurofighter, while Saab Microwave Systems (formerly Ericsson) builds the mechanically scanned PS-05/A radar currently installed in the Gripen.
On May 1 the JAS 39C/D Gripens of the Czech air force’s 211.tl took over NATO’s Baltic Air Policing detachment, which provides a two-aircraft, 24-hour, 15-minute readiness armed quick reaction alert (QRA) for the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The four-month deployment of four Gripens to Siauliai air base in Lithuania represents the type’s first out-of-country operational tasking.