Tag Archives: FXM

Sweden offers Gripen to Belgium

Denmark was considered “a waste of time”, but Belgium is a different story. Sweden has decided to join the race for the next-generation multi-role fighter jet for the Belgian Air Component.

The Swedish Defence and Security Export Agency (FXM) confirmed it submitted a background document to the Ministry of Defence of Belgium on 15 December 2014. “In June this year, FXM received a request on joining a feasibility study for the country’s future combat aircraft procurement. FXM accepted. The request applies to the next generation of SAAB Gripen, the Gripen E,” a press release reads.

Interesting detail in the Belgian communication about the current process is that Brussels calls it the Gripen R. Sweden is not the only country in the race. Belgium is also requesting information from France for the Dassault Rafale, from the United Kingdom for the Eurofighter Typhoon and from the United States for the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II and Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) F/A-18 Hornet. Judging the current climate in Belgium we at Airheadsfly.com believe that the finale will be between the F-35, Rafale and Gripen, in that order of choice. Dassault already sent in its papers.

Since 1979, Belgium has been flying the Lockheed Martin (General Dynamics) F-16A/M which is due to be fully replaced by 2028. The Belgian Air Component officially has 54 of the F-16s left, but not all of them are operational. With the increased co-operation in a joint air defence with northern neighbour the Netherlands, the F-35 might be a most logic, but also an expensive choice. The Netherlands already buy 37 F-35s to replace their F-16s.

How many new fighters Belgium will buy is not decided yet. The base need is four fighter jets for Quick Reaction Alert, a maximum of 10 fighters deployed in two operations abroad, plus a number of jets for immediate ground support and longer term air defence in case of a threat/conflict at home.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, based on source information of the FXM and the Belgian MoD

Related: Rafale F3R offered to Belgium
AND: Joint Air Defence over Benelux

A Swedish Air Force JAS 39C Gripen fighter at Linköping-Malmen (Image © Marcel Burger)
Belgium is interested in the next-generation Gripen-E, which will also succeed this Swedish Air Force JAS 39C Gripen fighter at Linköping-Malmen (Image © Marcel Burger)

Deal: Gripen will serve Czech Air Force another 14 years

The Gripen design in true form with the Czech Air Force. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The Gripen design in true form with the Czech Air Force. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

A great day for Swedish Saab. The Czech government decided to continue leasing the 14 JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets for another 14 years from Sweden, confirmed the Swedish export authority (FXM) in the late afternoon (CET/GMT) of Wednesday September 11th, 2013.

Sweden and the Czech Republic are finishing the final conditions of the new deal, says FXM general director Ulf Hammarström. ,,We are convinced we found a really good solution that meets the requirement of the Czech Air Force now and in the future.”

The 12 JAS 39C Gripen single-seat and 2 JAS 39D Gripen two-seat multirole fighters have been part of the Czech air defences since 2005, when they started to replace obsolete MiG-21s. The Russian made jets were inherited from the former Czechoslovakian armed forces, when the combined country split up in 1993, a few years after the fall of the so-called Iron Curtain.

,,The strategic partnership Sweden has with the Czech Republic creates advantages for both countries, with benefits for the Swedish defences, the Swedish tax payers and other Gripen users as well”, says FXM’s Hammarström.

The deal that will be signed by both countries includes training of Czech personnel and upgrading of the 14 fighter jets, as well as logistic and operational support in the daily usage of the Swedish made fighter (J), attack (A) and reconnaissance (S) jet.

The Czech Republic was the first NATO country to fly the JAS 39 Gripen. It paved the way for Hungary to strike a same deal with 12 single- and 2 two-seaters. South Africa and Thailand followed, with Pretoria ordering 26 Gripens (17 C plus 9 D). South African Gripens fly since 2008. Earlier this month the last three of the eight JAS 39C and four JAS 39D were on their delivery flight to 7th Wing of the Royal Thai Air Force.

Gripen fighters might even bear the white cross in the near future, as a majority of the Swiss parliament on Wednesday September 11, 2013, approved the purchase of 22 JAS 39E/F Gripen. That is the next generation of the indigenous Swedish combat aircraft. The Swiss deal is subject to a referendum though. Parallel to the Swiss the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet) is expecting 60 of the newest Gripen that is still being developed by Saab in its hometown of Linköping.

© 2013 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger

Related posts

Check out the Czech Air Force Orbat at Scramble.nl