Sweden’s Försvarets Materielverk (FMV, Swedish Defence Materiel Administration) has signed a contract with Germany-based Grob Aircraft SE to deliver a new basic training aircraft system to the nation’s armed forces.
The deal – announced by the FMV on May 5 – includes seven Grob 120TP basic training aircraft, along with related simulators, computer-based training (CBT) and flight safety equipment, such as helmets, parachutes and life jackets. It also covers maintenance services for the aircraft and simulators. The contract contains options for additional aircraft, simulators, CBT systems and other equipment.
The aircraft will be operated by the Svenska Flygvapnet (Swedish Air Force), replacing the service’s current but ageing fleet of Sk60 (Saab 105) basic trainers – a type which first flew in 1963, but will remain operational for a few more years before being retired. After being delayed for various reasons, the Swedish government had authorised acquisition of a new basic training aircraft on March 26, 2020, allowing the procurement process to get underway.
The Grob was selected as the preferred platform through a competitive process and will be designated the Sk40 in Swedish service, which will operate the aircraft in the basic flying training role. The aircraft will be operated by the Flygskolan’s (Flight School’s) Grundläggande Flygutbildning (GFU, Basic Flying Training) unit at Linköping-Malmen, where it is intended to have the training system ready for the first batch of students by the summer of 2024.
While the timescale is tight, the air force requirements had specified that the system should be based on existing products, with no special Swedish solutions, in order to accelerate the delivery of the type to the service. Grob will be responsible for maintaining the aircraft and simulators during their first three years of operation, but the contract includes an option for this to be extended for a further two years. Following this, future maintenance contracts will be open to competition.
The first aircraft is planned to be delivered to the FMV for testing purposes in May 2022. Work will then begin to phase the basic trainer into Swedish Air Force service during the first quarter of 2023. As per current plans, the Flight School’s instructor pilots will start getting to grips with the new system in 2023, so that they will be ready to start training new GFU students in the summer of 2024.