Military Aviation

Swedish taxpayers paid for 14 JAS-39C/D unused airframes in order to keep Gripen’s production line open

The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) explained that the 14 JAS-39C/Ds were included in the Gripen E contract.

According to Svenska Dagbladet newspaper the Swedish government paid for 14 Gripen C/D airframes that are unused in order to ensure that the production line at Saab can transition to the Gripen E.

Ten of those are C models while the rest are two-seaters. The government had hoped that the fighters could be exported to overseas customers but the orders never came in.

Replying to Svenska, the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) explained that those 14 airframes were included in the Gripen E contract.

These aircraft in fact were ordered to maintain the skills to manufacture fighter aircraft, as the production of Gripens for Sweden’s Air Force and other export customers, such as Thailand, South Africa and the Czech Republic, almost ceased, and a substantial break was looming. The extra Gripens were therefore ordered to keep the assembly line running before the production of JAS-39E.

FMV declined to disclose its plans on what to do with the unused airframes. Since they cannot be used for Saab’s brand new Gripen E, they are likely to end up unused, unless a new deal is reached.

One possibility is to use these extra 14 aircraft as a replacement for crashed Gripen jets. According to Sputnik News previously, parliament decided that the Swedish Air Force should have 100 Gripen C/Ds. Today, there are 95. No such decision has been made so far.

In 2010, Sweden awarded Saab a four-year contract to improve the Gripen’s radar and other equipment, integrate new weapons, and lower its operating costs. In June 2010, Saab stated that Sweden planned to order the Gripen NG, designated JAS-39E/F. On Aug. 25, 2012, following Switzerland’s intention to buy 22 of the E/F variants, Sweden announced it planned to buy 40–60 Gripen E/Fs. The Swedish government decided to purchase 60 Gripen Es on Jan. 17, 2013.

Photo credit: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman and Saab

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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