Fri, 03 Feb 2006
GCC states show growing interest in JAS 39 Gripen
Arab Gulf sources say the performance of JAS-39 Gripen multi-role combat aircraft surprised GCC Air Force officers who attended Dubai Air Show 2005 (7-11/12/05).
These sources expect GCC Air Force commanders to extend a great welcome to this aircraft, with GCC states seeking to diversify the fleets of their air forces. Sweden’s Saab Military Aircraft, producer of the JAS-39 Gripen jointly with Microwave Systems, Volvo Aero Corporation and Celsius Aerotech, has already presented alluring offers to GCC states (See TRWB- No 11/08 - 27/2/04). While in Sweden in November, Saudi Prince Khaled Bin Sultan, Assistant Minister of Defence and Aviation for Military Affairs, got impressed by the aircraft. He already prefers it to the F-5 fighter jet in service with the Royal Saudi Air Force. In fact, the Saudi Ministry of Defence and Aviation is looking into plans to replace the F-5 jets with the JAS-39 Gripen (See TRWB – 13/02 – 13/1/06). Pakistani middlemen played a major role in promoting the aircraft in Saudi Arabia. Saab was relying on BAE Systems to place an offer with Saudi Arabia for it.
Tactical Weekly - Friday, February 3, 2006 – 13th Year, No 13/05