Supported by the Swedish government, Saab has submitted its proposal for the Gripen E in response to the Swiss New Fighter Aircraft procurement to armasuisse, the Swiss defence procurement agency.

Saab confirmed that it is offering Gripen E and a ‘comprehensive industrial participation programme for Swiss industry corresponding to 100 percent of the contract value’.

The proposal consisting of options for 30, and 40, new build Gripen E fighter aircraft is a response to the Request for Proposal (RFP), which armasuisse issued on the 6th of July 2018.

Switzerland has a need to replace its fighter fleet of F/A-18 Hornet and F-5 E/F Tiger aircraft.

“The proposed Gripen E solution features the latest available technology and low acquisition, operation and support costs that will give Switzerland an optimal fleet size, with the best total operational effect over the coming decades,” says Jonas Hjelm, head of Saab business area Aeronautics.

As part of the proposal to Switzerland, Saab is offering Swiss industrial participation. The co-operation with Swiss industry, across all regions of the country, in manufacturing, maintenance and technology will improve competence and capabilities aimed at the sustainment and further development of the Gripen E system in Switzerland say Saab.

The company also advise that the Gripen E programme is progressing according to plan, with production on-going and customer deliveries starting this year.

“The very latest technologies are being incorporated to provide air forces with operational capabilities designed to defeat the threats of today, but also the future. Key milestones achieved during the past six months include flights with IRIS-T and METEOR, as well as the second Gripen E aircraft taking flight.”

Five nations currently operate Gripen: Sweden, South Africa, Czech Republic, Hungary and Thailand. Sweden and Brazil have ordered Gripen E. Additionally, the UK Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS) uses Gripen as platform for test pilot training.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Other than shortage of attack capability (because it is light), what is the serious shortfall of Gripen-E?

    Its range is similar to that of Typhoon (different to Gripen C/D).
    Its agility is better than F16, may be not as good as Typhoon, but super-cruise capability will be “similar”?
    It has AESA, and what is more important is the fact that it can handle Metoer AAM, AMRAAM, and wide variety of missiles.

    Anyway, one of the best option for Switzerland, at least.

    • Agreed with Donald, a first-class aircraft that would be a cheap and handy replacement for the UK also, replacing ageing Tranche 1 Typhoons in the air policing role whilst saving airframe hours on the newer builds.

      The ability to incorporate Metoer AAM, and AMRAAM makes this a serious contender given the constraints of our defence budget!

    • Super cruise capability will be non-existent in reality for Gripen E. It might be able to supercruise ‘clean’ but no conformal carry means that as soon as any weapons are hung off it its not going to.

      Range with combat load is also shorter, again due to the draggy carriage.
      As to Meteor, it may have AESA but its a small one, as is its engine. Consequently combined with its lack of supercruise with external stores it won’t be able to deploy Meteor as effectively as Typhoon (Rafale has a similar issue).

      It’s a good multi role aircraft for a small country or one with a small budget. Perfect for the Baltics, Eastern Europe or a neutral country who takes defence seriously. But it’s not a top line combat aircraft for a big country.

  2. In modern times, Switzerland has always relied on neutrality, small arms and nuclear-proof bunkers for its safety. I don’t see why super-cruising fighters with AESA radars would be important. Simple point-defence fighters that can fit the tunnels of its air-bases ought to be sufficient for QRA duties. I would have thought Gripens or F16s to be ideal.

    • Not quite, supercruise is used in the tactical sense as it adds kinetic energy to your air to air missiles. The Typhoon is a very example of this. It was designed to supercruise, fire off its missiles and be able to perform a high turn whilst supersonic and still come out of the turn at Mach 1+. Its all about who sees who first – fires first!
      The AESA radar is a game changer compared to earlier pulse doppler radars. They are frequency agile, so are more difficult to detect, are multi-mode so can do searching and tracking at the same time. They are also very useful for eavesdropping on other radars, due to their increased operating bandwidth.
      The Gripen E is very good value for the money. It may not be in the same league as the Typhoon, but in avionics terms is still a generation ahead of all the Flanker family.

    • The Gripen has short legs but that is fine for Switzerland. The entire country is half the size of Scotland. The Gripen could intercept attacking aircraft well outside Swiss airspace. And there is only one nation interested in attacking Switzerland. We’ll call it “Russia” for kicks.

  3. Afternoon
    A good solid cost effective choice if they do choose it.
    Ideally suited to the climate, the conditions and the geography.
    As Cam Hunter states above, it also helps UK industry as well.
    It gives commonality with the ETPS in Boscombe Down, which would allow their pilots to gain some fantastic training.

    • BB85- Yes a bit of Groundhog Day exists in this instance,Switzerland has a lot of Referendums to decide major policy decisions,the original Gripen purchase was overturned in one such vote.

  4. The Gripen is a very effective light weight fighter that would serve the Swiss well. The Swiss certainly don’t need a bomb truck like an F-15E or even a Super Hornet and the Typhoon/Rafale is way too expensive and overkill for their needs. The Gripen has more than enough capabilities and in the right hands can go toe to toe against any enemy fighters they might encounter.

  5. As said, the Gripen E is a great aircraft, agile, strong, low radar signiture, an excellent avionics suite …. Add meteor to the mix and its able to wipe the floor with any potential Russian opposition…

  6. The Swiss aren’t going to fight anybody so why do they need any capability other than basic QRA to shepherd wayward aircraft from their airspace? The cheapest way they could do that with a new-build western aircraft would probably be a basic Gripen or F16.

    • While I agree, Switzerland’s best options are Gripon & F16, I don’t agree with the statement that they won’t have to fight anybody. In WW1 & WW2, those fighting surrounded Switzerland & there was value to both sides to keep them out of the fray. However if there is a major war originating to the North or East, there is the probability that one side will push straight through them (sticking to your own side of the border in a major war can be seen as more trouble than it’s worth). It should be noted that countries surrounding Switzerland surrendered before before the big armies reached their borders. The trouble when you are small is that people can basically forget you exist.

  7. I’m really not sure why Swiss would bother with a high performed expensive fast jet, there airspace is tiny, anyone getting the them will either need to go through France, Germany or Italy. In reality all they need is a very cheap light fighter that can deal with in extremism a terror event on a commercial air liner, something like a Hawk would do fine.

    • Hitler left the Swiss alone in WW2, not because they had no weapons , but because they had lots of them and the troops were well trained. Switzerland plans to stay free of foreign rule.

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