Hungary, Philippines: the Swedish JAS 39 Gripen regains export colors

The JAS 39 Gripen single-engine fighter, which made its first flight in 1988, is universally recognized as an aircraft offering excellent performance-price ratio. Very efficient and economical to use, it allowed the Swedish Saab to win several key export markets in the 2000s with Hungary (14 units), the Czech Republic (14 units), South Africa (26 units). copies) and Thailand (18 devices), then with Brazil for 36 new Gripen E/F in 2015.

After a slump, exports of the Stockholm fighter could pick up again, while Hungary has just announced the order for 4 additional JAS 39 Gripen C single-seaters, and Manila and Stockholm have entered into negotiations for the potential acquisition of a fleet of 18 fighters or more.

No international orders for 9 years against the F-35A, F-16V and Rafale

After a period of ten years of euphoria, from 2005 to 2015, with the sale of 106 fighters, a record for Sweden since the J35 Draken exported 125 copies to 3 European countries (Finland, Denmark and Austria) in the years 60 and 70, Saab had begun a worrying crossing of the desert.

J-35 Draken Saab Swedish Air Force
The J-35 Draken still remains the most exported Swedish combat aircraft today, with 125 examples.

Although very active, commercially speaking, the Swedish aircraft manufacturer saw itself defeated by the American F-35A in Finland, Canada, Switzerland and the Czech Republic, while Bulgaria and Slovakia preferred the F-16A. XNUMXV, and Croatia turned towards the Rafale French.

In fact, since the order for 60 Gripen E/F for Flygvapnet, the Swedish Air Force, in 2013, and the validation of the contract for 36 Gripen E/F, with local manufacturing, for the Brazilian Air Force, validated by Parliament of the country in 2015, the order book for the Gripen remained desperately empty.

Furthermore, the current negotiations, for example, in Chile or Colombia, seem particularly contested, in particular by the American F-16 and the Rafale French, and the Brazilian order of the second tranche of 34 Gripen E/F, imminent for several years, is still struggling to materialize.

A new order for 4 JAS 39 Gripen C for the Hungarian Air Force

In this gloomy context, the announcement made on February 23 by Micael Johansson, the president of Saab, regarding the new order for 4 JAS 39 Gripen Cs by Budapest, although modest, is of major symbolic importance for the Swedish aircraft manufacturer.

Indeed, after the Czech Republic announced that it was turning to the American F-35A, and the blow of the choice, by Helsinki, to choose the same aircraft, rather than betting on interoperability with its Swedish neighbor and ally, Saab badly needed some good news to break the dark streak it had been going through.

JAS 39 Gripen C Hungarian Air Force
The Hungarian Air Force uses 14 single-seater JAS-39 Gripen Cs, and 2 two-seater Gripen Ds.

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