Saab has offered to re-start production of its Gripen C/D combat aircraft in its proposal to replace Bulgaria's ageing Warsaw Pact-era MiG-29 'Fulcrum' fighters, the company confirmed to Jane's on 14 March.
Production of the Gripen C/D, which was ceased in early 2015 with the completion of Sweden's order and the company' transition over to the latest E variant, could be resumed for Bulgaria with deliveries following shortly after.
"Sweden has submitted a highly competitive offer for new fully NATO-interoperable Gripen C/D fighter aircraft," the company told Jane's in a statement, adding, "A new fleet of Gripen aircraft can be delivered to the Bulgarian Air Force within a short time of contract signature."
Saab has sold or leased 167 Gripen C and 25 Gripen D aircraft to Sweden and five export customers - the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa, Thailand, and the United Kingdom's Empire Test Pilots School. The company is in the final stages of discussions for the type with Slovakia, and has offered it to Croatia also. Although resources have now been directed to building the 60 Gripen Es for the Swedish Air Force (SwAF) and 28 Gripen E and eight Gripen Fs for the Brazilian Air Force, Saab has been at pains to stress that it remains committed to the Gripen C/D.
"There is no real cut-off point [for Saab] on when to stop marketing the C/D in favour of the E/F," Jerker Ahlqvist, head of Saab's Gripen business unit, previously told reporters. "The C/D is still a very capable aircraft and not all countries will require the extended range or the improved sensor suite of the E/F. There will be a continuous development programme for the C/D, so it doesn't become an old aircraft just because the E/F is around, and buying a C/D doesn't mean you have to stay with that aircraft.
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