To replace its aging fleet of Yugoslav-era MiG-21s, Sweden has again offered Croatia a deal for 12 Gripen C/D fighters by submitting a formal proposal via the Swedish embassy, Saab informed.
Along with the Gripens, Saab is also offering a “tailor-made” strategic cooperation package ‘that will boost the Croatian defense industry, and benefit Croatian security by building a long-term partnership with strategic sectors.’
Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and head of Saab business area Aeronautics stated “Sweden and Saab are offering a comprehensive and long-term solution for Croatian homeland security that will protect Croatia’s people and borders for decades to come.
If Croatia chooses Gripen, Saab is ready to transfer know-how and technology and establish a Regional Aeronautical & Support Service Centre in Croatia. This would develop long term cooperation with the local defense industry as well as the academic sector, generating some 500 high-tech jobs.”
Saab is also eyeing to sell its Gripen fighter jets to Finland under its HX fighter procurement, as reported by EurAsian Times earlier. It also offered new development packages, including the new electronic warfare suite and an air-launched lightweight decoy missile.
Reiterating Gripen’s system familiarity and compatibility among NATO air forces, the company also mentioned the in-service record of the fighters in service with Hungary and the Czech Republic. “Gripen fighters of the Czech and Hungarian Air Forces participate regularly in NATO operations and exercises, proving the fighter’s full NATO interoperability,” it said.
The JAS-39 C/D ‘Gripen’
The JAS-39 “Gripen” is a light single-engine multirole combat aircraft designed and manufactured by the Swedish company Saab AB. It is highly agile and versatile and sports among the best electronic warfare suites globally, and has been exported to Brazil, Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.
The plane uses a pulse-doppler radar and can reach a maximum speed of Mach 2. With its advanced arsenal, it can carry almost every weapon in service with NATO, including AIM-9 variants, IRIS-T, AIM-120 AMRAAM, Meteor, MICA, AGM-65 Maverick, KEPD 350 ALCM, and a host of other air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions.
Earlier, Saab AB had shown deep interest to help India with local manufacturing if it beats key competitors like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Sukhoi, Dassault, etc in the race for one of the world’s biggest fighter jet contract.
Saab wanted to supply 114 Gripen fighters in a deal valued at more than $15 billion as Indian PM Narendra Modi was keen to modernize the armed forces in the face of threats from China and Pakistan.