Saab looks toward three critical competitions for near-term Gripen C/D sales
By: Valerie Insinna, May 10, 2017
One of those countries, Bulgaria, seems poised to cement a deal to buy eight new-build Gripens to replace its MiG-29s. In April, Bulgarian interim Deputy Prime Minister Stefan Yanev announced that the Saab jet was the preferred option, potentially beating out secondhand F-16s from Portugal and secondhand Eurofighter Typhoons purchased from Italy.
“What happens now is they are forming the new government, so now we are waiting for information on how to proceed,” Richard Smith, Saab’s head of Gripen marketing, told reporters during a May 9 briefing in Linköping, Sweden. Defense News is attending a Saab media trip this week and has accepted hotel and travel accommodations from the company.........Read entire post: defensenews.com
Smith confirmed that Saab had started some “essential work” on new "C" models to shorten the delivery timeline for future orders, but declined to elaborate on whether that included purchasing long-lead items or if some construction had begun.
"We haven't specified those aircraft for a specific country, and we've not built any white tails,” he said. White tail is a term used to describe aircraft made without a firm customer on order.
Besides Bulgaria, Botswana and Slovakia provide the most immediate sales opportunities for C/D models.
The company will begin delivering the first Gripen Es to Sweden and Brazil in 2019. The Swedish Air Force plans to buy 60 Gripen E/Fs, and Brazil has put in an order for 36 aircraft — although it may need up to 100 new fighters to replenish its force.