Sweden’s Saab is pitching its Gripen multi-role fighter for the Indonesian F-5 replacement requirement, and is offering technology transfer and the opportunity for Indonesian industry to fully participate in the production of the aircraft.
Indonesia has allocated funding for the new fighter in the 2015-2019 five-year spending plan. There is a stated need for urgent delivery, and Saab has said it could deliver the first aircraft 12 months after contract signature.
Due to the urgent nature of the requirement, Saab is offering the latest MS20 version of the Gripen C/D rather than the longer-ranged Gripen NG that is still in development. MS20 entered Swedish air force service in May this year, and brings significant new capability to the Gripen, which is currently the only fighter operational with the MBDA Meteor long-range air-to-air missile.
MS20 also added the ability to employ the precision-guided SDB small diameter bomb. Together with Saab’s own RBS 15F smart anti-ship missile, the Gripen C/D now offers a formidable long-range deterrent against threats in the air, land and sea domains.Saab has proposed the delivery of 14 aircraft plus all support, technology transfer and training for air and ground crew, the latter fully embracing the ‘train the trainer’ concept to accelerate the transfer of know-how to Indonesian personnel.
Crucially, the Gripen proposal is in line with the vision of President Joko Widodo to develop Indonesia’s defence industries. The nation’s principal airframer, PTDI, would play a big role in Gripen production, providing a technological base to absorb the transfer of additional expertise.
If Gripen was selected, PTDI engineers would be involved in production from the outset, initially working alongside Swedish technicians in Saab’s Linköping factory, learning as they go so that production can be transferred, step by step, to PTDI’s Bandung facility.
The production plan envisages the last of the 14 aircraft being wholly built in Indonesia.Having a local factory able to build Gripens offers great potential for follow-on acquisitions. Many more fighters are needed under Indonesia’s minimum essential force requirements.