Swiss Detail Gripen Agreement With Sweden

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Switzerland is to lease 11 Saab JAS 39C/Ds from Sweden to bridge the gap until deliveries of its 22 single-seat JAS 39E next-generation Gripens begin in mid-2018.

The eight single-seat Cs and three two-seat Ds will be leased for five years from 2016 to 2020 for SFr 44 million ($46 million) a year -- SFr 10 million more than annual cost of the F-5Es they will replace.

These are some of the details from the Sweden-Switzerland Framework Agreement unveiled by Swiss federal councillor Ueli Maurer on Tuesday (August 28).

According to the agreement, the new AESA-equipped, MBDA Meteor-armed JAS 39E/F Gripens will cost Switzerland SFr 3.126 billion, with the first payment of SFr 300 million scheduled for 2014.

The schedule calls for deliveries of the JAS 39E Gripen NG to begin with Sweden, with three from the second quarter of 2018, two in 2019, three in 2020 and the rest of the planned 40-60 aircraft from 2021 onwards. Sweden has said its first squadron will be operational in 2023 (previous post).

Switzerland plans to receive 11 JAS 39Es from mid-2018 to 2019 and the remaining 11 from 2020-21. Parliamentary approval must still be obtained for the deal. Signature of the contract with Sweden is planned for fall 2013 -- or mid-2014, if there has to be a national referendum on the purchase.

To defend against opposition accusations that Switzerland is buying an unproved, still-to-be-developed fighter, the defense ministry argues that Switzerland based its decision to buy the Boeing F-18 based on flight testing a CF-18B in 1988, but took delivery of the much-improved F-18C/D in 1997-98.

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