Botswana Confirms Saab Gripen Negotiations

 - June 17, 2016, 2:13 AM
The Gripen’s appeal is helped by low operating costs. This is a two-seat Gripen D. (Saab)

The Botswana Defense Force (BDF) commander this week confirmed for the first time that the country is negotiating a small order of Saab Gripen C/D fighters. Swedish defense marketing agency FMV said last month that the deal involves approximately eight aircraft. Saab said recently that it is still promoting new-build C/D versions, as well as the new Gripen E.

Lt. Gen. Gaolathe Galebotswe said that the Gripen was found to have the lowest operating costs of all the candidates. These included F-16s, some MiG variants and Chinese jets. Korea has also been promoting the F/A-50 to Botswana.

The African country currently operates the remainder from 26 ex-Canadian CF-5A/B Freedom Fighters that were obtained upgraded from Bristol Aerospace 20 years ago. It has been considering replacements for some time. Saab opened an office in Botswana in January 2014. Neighboring South Africa bought 26 Gripen C/Ds.