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Update: South Africa contracts Gripen support from Saab

South Africa has signed a three-year support deal with Saab that would address availability problems with its Gripen C/D fleet. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

South Africa has contracted Saab to provide three years of support to some of its fleet of Gripen C/D combat aircraft.

Announced by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) on 19 September, the ZAR532 million (USD30 million) deal covers service, repairs, maintenance, and minor updates to the South African Air Force's (SAAF's) fleet of Gripen C/Ds that it has fielded operationally since 2008. The contract runs from 2022 to 2025.

While the SAAF officially lists 17 single-seat Gripen Cs and nine two-seat Gripen Ds in its inventory, two aircraft have been described as being beyond economic repair.

Speaking to Janes at the Africa Aerospace & Defence (AAD) 2022 defence exhibition near Pretoria, just after the contract was announced, Saab officials said the agreement covers โ€˜less than half' of the SAAF's Gripen fleet. A SAAF representative from 2 Squadron, which operates the Gripen, added that the contract has been in place for some months, and that negotiations are under way to extend it. To date, three Gripens have been returned to flight status under the deal.

This article, first published on 20 September, has been updated with new information.

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