HELSINKI — The Swedish Air Force will require at least 60 to 80 next-generation JAS Gripen fighters to replace its present Gripen fleet. The replacement process should begin no later than 2020, according to a report presented by the Armed Forces Command (AFC) to the Ministry of Defense.
The report was given to the Parliamentary Defense Committee (PDC) on March 15.
“The capability upgrade of Sweden’s fighter jet system should commence in 2020, and we estimate that it will take 10 years to complete. Sweden needs at least 60 to 80 planes. The upgrade of the JAS Gripen is necessary to guarantee that our fighter jet system is operatively relevant and that our air defense over the long term can meet the practical needs of the outside world,” the report states.
The AFC’s report recommends that the next-generation (NG) JAS Gripen include a bigger hull, a more powerful engine and the ability to carry a broader array of weapons.
“This will allow room for more weapons and more fuel, which in turn leads to higher efficiency and durability,” the report states. Additionally, the report says, funding will be sought to equip the NG Gripen with improved radar, situational awareness and countermeasures systems.
Swedish defense chief Gen. Sverker Göranson said the project would be “highly capital intensive,” but declined to speculate on the final cost of procurement.
“Discussions will soon start regarding costs. It would therefore be wrong to discuss openly how much we have planned that it should cost,” Göranson said.
The MoD’s provisional estimates put the cost of 80 aircraft at between $4 billion and $5 billion. The Swedish government hopes to reduce its spending by sharing the cost with one or more international partners, a solution supported by the AFC.
The report is based on almost two years of analysis covering the development of different alternatives and model configurations. All have been tested in extensive simulations and operative games, against both known and projected threat scenarios, Göranson said.