LONDON — Saab has been given the go-ahead to modify Gripen C fighters to the new-generation E standard in a 16.4 billion-krona (US $2.4 billion) contract with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV).
The Swedish defense company on Wednesday said the order to begin serial production for 60 of the significantly upgraded Gripen E version would allow initial deliveries to get underway in 2018 and be completed by 2026.
The company also announced it had received a separate order from the FMV valued at 186 million krona to integrate MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile on to the E standard aircraft.
Gripen E offers an active, electronically scanned array radar supplied by Selex ES, more weapons along with improved avionics and engine performance.
Switzerland has selected the new aircraft standard and is on course to purchase 22 machines subject to a referendum on the procurement expected next year.
A modified D-model trainer is already test-flying the latest updates and an E standard aircraft is in production ahead of a first flight in 2015. A further two test aircraft will also be added to the program.
“The order from FMV is further proof of the Swedish Parliament’s confidence in Gripen, its development potential and defense capacity. Furthermore, it is confirmation that the program is proceeding to plan,” said Saab President and CEO Hakan Buskhe.