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Saab pulls Gripen E from Swiss flight evaluations

13 June 2019
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With the Gripen E not yet operational, Saab has taken the decision to not submit it for Swiss flight evaluations. Its offer to sell the aircraft to the country, however, still stands. Source: Saab

Saab will not present its Gripen E to Switzerland for flight trials, although it will still offer the combat aircraft for the country's Air2030 requirement.

The Swedish company announced on 13 June that the stipulation by Switzerland's Armasuisse defence procurement agency that all aircraft offered for flight evaluation be operationally ready means that the Gripen E will not be able to take part in that particular aspect of the procurement process.

"The Swiss defence procurement agency, armasuisse, has formally recommended to Saab [that it not] participate with Gripen E in the upcoming flight tests in Switzerland. The reason is that the flight tests have been designed to only evaluate aircraft that are operationally ready in 2019. The flight tests are part of the fighter evaluation process that foresees aircraft deliveries in 2025. Gripen E will enter into operational service years before Switzerland has scheduled deliveries and will meet all its defined capabilities. However, the Gripen E development plan does not match the Swiss plan to perform flight tests with aircraft that are operationally ready in 2019. Therefore, Saab has decided not to attend the Swiss flight tests in Payerne 24-28 June," Saab said in a statement.

The company noted that, with the Gripen E not set to be ready in time for aramsuisse's deadline, it had offered to present its Gripen C instead. "[Other] competitors have showcased capabilities on existing platforms, which are different to the versions offered for delivery," it said. This offer, however, was rejected.

Despite pulling the Gripen E from the flight evaluations, Saab said that it remains committed to the offer it submitted to the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (VBS [previously DDPS]) in January.

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