Representatives from the Swedish government formally offered 12 new-build Saab JAS 39 Gripen C/D multi-role fighters to Croatia on September 9.
Sweden is offering the Gripen C/D platform to Croatia, which is seeking a replacement for its ageing Soviet-era Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21bis-D (NATO reporting name: Fishbed) and MiG-21UMD Mongol-B fighter fleets. The government-to-government proposal was submitted by the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) and the Swedish Embassy in Croatia.
Along with the Swedish government’s proposal, Saab has offered a tailor-made strategic cooperation package, which aims to boost Croatia’s local defence industry and security, while building long-term partnerships with the strategic sector.
Jonas Hjelm, senior vice president and head of Saab’s Aeronautics division, said: “Sweden and Saab are offering a comprehensive and long-term solution for Croatian homeland security that will protect Croatia’s people and borders for decades to come.
“If Croatia chooses Gripen, Saab is ready to transfer know-how, technology and establish a Regional Aeronautical and Support Service Centre in Croatia. This would develop long-term cooperation with local defence industry as well as the academic sector, generating some 500 high-tech jobs,” he added.
While Saab’s Gripen C/D fighter is not the latest incarnation of the platform – the Gripen E/F – the aircraft itself remains to be a modern and proven multi-role combat aircraft. The company says that the Gripen C/D “uses the latest technology and performs an extensive range of air-to-air, air-to-ground and reconnaissance missions.”
If selected, the Gripen would provide greater interoperability with NATO and regional neighbours such as the Czech Republic and Hungary – both of which operate the same variants of the fighter. The platform is also in operational service in the air forces of South Africa, Sweden and Thailand.