Colombia, Philippines Prospective Buyers for Saab's Gripen Fighter

  • Defensemirror.com Bureau
  • 04:01 AM, February 14, 2023
  • 1643
Colombia, Philippines Prospective Buyers for Saab's Gripen Fighter
Richard Smith, Deputy Head of Sales and Marketing - Gripen at Aero India 2023

Gripen E, Saab’s entry to India’s Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) contest, is hoping to bag contracts from the Philippines and Colombia.

In an exclusive talk with Defense Mirror at the ongoing Aero India show in Bengaluru, Richard Smith, Deputy Head of Sales and Marketing - Gripen, said Saab is looking at Colombia, Peru and the Philippines as prospective buyers of the Gripen E combat jet. He said a reorder from Hungary is also on the cards because of its proximity to Ukraine.

When asked about Saab’s lease model, Smith said Gripen aircraft are bought as per a country’s ability to make payments. Saab and the Swedish government can offer a range of financing solutions including aircraft leases, lease-to-buy agreements and direct purchases. “We discuss with our customers how they would like to procure the fighter systems, and then match our finance procurement models to meet their needs. Saab and Sweden are flexible in that aspect,” Smith said.

Colombia, Philippines Prospective Buyers for Saab's Gripen Fighter
Gripen E at Aero India 2023 @Defense Mirror

He said lease models are government-to-government deals but not so common. Saab and Sweden provide tailored procurement arrangements to meet customer Government financial requirements. The Swedish International finance agency helps with funding the aircraft purchase on relatively easy terms for example grace periods and attractive financial rates, as compared to commercial financing – this ensures the affordability over time.

Currently, Gripen aircraft have been purchased by Sweden, Brazil, South Africa and Thailand. Hungary and the Czech Republic have on the other hand chosen a lease-purchase and a lease solution respectively. Regardless of payment solution the cost can be spread over a large number of years, instead of paying a big chunk of money up front.

Malaysia has sought 12-18 Light Combat Aircraft for over $1 billion. One of the frontrunners in the contest was Gripen, but it does not appear so now. “Malaysia? Not so much now. We’ve worked together for several years in the past. They don’t have a requirement for a multirole fighter right now,” said Smith.

South Korea’s FA-50 is competing with Gripen E to bag several deals. Malaysia is reported to be considering 18 FA-50 LCAs in November 2022.

“We don’t see the FA-50 in the same category as the Gripen. Gripen is highly capable, multirole fighter with cutting edge technologies, while the South Korean aircraft is a lighter fighter and carries lesser weapons. We offer high tech sensor suite and electronic warfare systems. They don’t have that,” the official added.

Colombia, Philippines Prospective Buyers for Saab's Gripen Fighter
Saab at Aero India 2023 @Defense Mirror
FEATURES/INTERVIEWS