The Swedish government will not offer the Saab Gripen E to Belgium for political reasons, the Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) announced on 10 July.
The FMV said that, while the Gripen fulfils all of the Belgian Air Component’s (BAC’s) operational requirements, there are operational support aspects to the proposed deal that preclude Sweden from participating in the competition to field a new fighter platform.
“[The] Gripen is a highly advanced and cost-effective fighter aircraft system that fully meets the operational requirements in the Belgian request for proposal [RFP]. In their Request for Government Proposal [RFGP], Belgium is also seeking extensive operational support from the delivering nation. This would require a Swedish foreign policy and political mandate that does not exist today. Therefore, Sweden and the FMV choose not to submit an answer to the Belgian request,” the FMV said in a statement explaining its decision.
The BAC is looking to replace its 44 single-seat Lockheed Martin F-16AM and 10 twin-seat F-16BM aircraft in the 2023-28 timeframe with 34 new multirole platforms. Sweden was one of four countries that received the RFGP from the Belgian government, alongside France (for the Dassault Rafale); the UK (Eurofighter Typhoon); and the United States (Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter [JSF]). Prior to Sweden’s announcement regarding the non-participation of the Gripen E for political reasons, Boeing had earlier withdrawn its Super Hornet over what it said was an unfair advantage for one or some of its competitors.
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