Sweden suspends search for new training aircraft

Sweden has suspended its search for a successor platform to its ageing Saab Sk 60A/B jet trainer fleet, the Swedish Defense Materiel Agency (FMV) announced on September 14.

The FMV cited that the procurement programme was cancelled because no viable candidate was offered to replace the Swedish Air Force’s ageing Sk 60A/Bs. The announcement came just four months after the nation issued a formal request for quotations (RFQ) to industry in May to find a successor. Following its decision, the FMV informed all bidding parties that it has suspended its search for a new jet trainer.

Saab Sk 60 [Saab]
A Swedish Air Force Saab Sk 60B - serial 60046 (c/n 60-046) - in flight. The Sk 60 jet trainer family first entered operational service with the air arm in 1966 and Sweden is looking to replace the type by 2023. Saab AB

Andreas Säf Pernselius, project manager at the FMV, said: “We cancelled the procurement in August. We had not received a tender that met all the requirements.”

Despite the cancellation of this procurement effort, Sweden is still in the market for a new advanced jet trainer to replace its Sk 60A/Bs. Sticking to its original schedule, the nation still aims to have a new platform available to train its first batch of student pilots in Malmen, Linköping, by mid-2023.

In its original tender – which was released on May 4, 2020 – Sweden outlined that it is seeking to acquire new aircraft, flight safety equipment and simulators. It also sought through life engineering support for the duration of the new platform’s service life and three years’ worth of aircraft maintenance, plus and option for an additional two years.

Locally designated the Sk 60, the platform is a variant of Saab’s 105 jet trainer. The Swedish Air Force has operated the type in a training role since 1966. In total, the air arm has accepted 150 examples of the Sk 60A. Over the years, a number of Sk 60A’s were upgraded to B, C, D and E-standard.

AirForces Intelligence data states that, as of September 17, 2020, the Swedish Air Force continues to operate 28 Sk 60As and nine Sk 60Bs in a training role.