A Swiss Pilatus PC-21. (Image © Pilatus Aircraft Co.)

Pilatus and Saab join forces

Pilatus PC-21
A Swiss Pilatus PC-21. (Image © Pilatus Aircraft Ltd.)

Swiss Pilatus Aircraft and Swedish Saab last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding which addresses the offset obligations of Saab related to the possible purchase of the Gripen for the Swiss Air Force, while at the same time forging a long term relationship between two innovative and forward looking aerospace companies.

A new generation of aircraft for a new generation of military pilots: Gripens for Switzerland – PC-21s for Sweden. The PC-21 Pilot Training System has been the subject of sales negotiations between Pilatus and Sweden for some time. A decision to proceed with the purchase of the Gripen would take Pilatus one step closer to concluding a PC-21 contract, creating a win-win situation for both countries.

An order to produce and deliver some twenty PC-21s would be an important achievement for one of Central Switzerland’s biggest employers, with a workforce of over 1600 at its headquarters in Stans, and would also provide a boost for related business entities across Switzerland as a whole.

New jobs
Pilatus and Saab also aim to create some 100 further new positions in the aerostructures sector. The production – for the PC-21, the Gripen and other aircraft types made by both manufacturers – will be performed at a new location in Switzerland which has yet to be defined.

Plans have also been agreed to set up an “Aerospace Software Development Center” in Switzerland. The two aircraft manufacturers will focus on developing innovative and safety-related software for their aircraft and associated groundbased systems. The goal will be to bundle know-how and exploit synergies to benefit the product ranges of both companies. All these measures are forecast to generate orders worth some half a billion Swiss francs (9.5 billion USD) over the next five to eight years. Around half of that total would go to Pilatus’ Swiss supplier base.

Markus Bucher, CEO of Pilatus Aircraft Ltd, explains: “This is a long-term partnership that makes sense, and would benefit both Sweden and Switzerland. The Gripen is the optimum aircraft for the Swiss Air Force and the PC-21 provides the best solution for the provision of training to military pilots, in Sweden and elsewhere. The Gripen offset deal has been vigorously negotiated in detail by armasuisse. It will allow Pilatus and around 600 Swiss suppliers to safeguard valuable development and industrial jobs on a long-term basis.”

Source: Pilatus Aircraft