A Czech Gripen during Lion Effort 2015 (Image © Martin Král)

Croatia re-establishes interest in Swedish Gripen, may opt for new jets

Sweden responded to a re-established request by the Government of Croatia on the possible purchase or lease of the SAAB JAS 39 C/D Gripen multi-role fighter.

A Croatian Air Force MiG-21 (Image © MORH)
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According to the Swedish Defence Export Authority (Försvarsexportmyndigheten; FXM) information was sent on Friday 23 October regarding the purchase of 8 to 12 new-to-build aircraft.

It is the latest development in talks that go back all the way to 2007, when Croatia started to look for a future replacement for its aging but recently in Ukraine modernized Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 “Fishbed” fighters. Earlier Croatia seemed to be interested in leasing Swedish Air Force Gripens, but partly because those aircraft are in high demand Zagreb now seems to be willing to look at new aircraft instead.

Meanwhile a group of 150 Brazilian engineers arrived at the SAAB plant in Linköping last week, starting their training in building and maintaining the newer Gripen E/F model of which the Força Aérea Brasileira is purchasing at least 36 units, while leasing possible 12 to 16 aircraft until the bigger and more capable Gripen E/F is ready. Talks with Slovakia on the lease of the Gripen C/D are also still underway.

The C/D model of the Gripen already flies with the air forces of Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa and Thailand.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The Gripen C in action with the Czech Air Force (Image © Martin Král)