BERNE, Switzerland, 19 May 2014. Officials in Switzerland held a national referendum on the funding law to procure Gripen E light single-engine multirole fighter aircraft from Saab. In 2013, the Swiss Parliament elected to purchase 22 Gripen E aircraft at a cost of roughly $3.5 billion. Saab continues the Gripen E program according to plan, with development and production of 60 Gripen E for Sweden ongoing and deliveries scheduled for 2018, officials say.
Saab signed a framework agreement with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) in February 2013 for the development and production of 60 Gripen E to Sweden and potentially 22 to Switzerland. Today’s referendum result on the funding law for Gripen means that the Swiss procurement process of 22 Gripen E stops. The Swedish development and production orders placed in 2013 continue, with delivery of Gripen E to Sweden commencing in 2018. The negotiations regarding 36 Gripen NG to Brazil are ongoing; an agreement is expected to be signed in 2014.
“Our focus is helping countries protect their ways of life, which we do by serving the global market with world-leading products, including Gripen. We have seen in Switzerland support for Gripen, including through its evaluation and selection over competitors and in the votations in the Swiss Parliament last year,” says Saab President and CEO Håkan Buskhe.
“We respect the process in Switzerland and do not comment on today’s outcome in the referendum. Following selection in 2011, hundreds of business relationships in Switzerland have been created through the Swiss Industrial Participation program, which was created in relation to the Gripen E procurement. These are relationships we look forward to continuing as long as possible,” Buskhe adds.
More than 500 contracts with 125 Swiss businesses have been arranged under the industrial participation program. Some are with Saab; most are with partners and suppliers to Saab.
Gripen is used for air defense in Sweden, South Africa, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Thailand. In addition, The Empire Test Pilot School (ETPS) in the U.K. uses Gripen in its training program for future test pilots.