Sweden again proposes Gripen for Croatia
Saab announced on 9 September that representatives of the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) and the Swedish Embassy in Croatia have submitted a government-to-government proposal to provide 12 new Gripen C/D multirole fighter aircraft to the Croatian Air Force.
Potential price details included the offer are unavailable, but Shephard Defence Insight describes a typical unit cost of $60 million per Gripen C/D.
The proposal includes industrial workshare. Saab stated: ‘Parallel to Sweden’s proposal, Saab is offering a tailored made strategic cooperation package that will boost the Croatian defence industry, and benefit Croatian security by building a long-term partnership with strategic sectors.’
Gripen C/D is already in service with Croatia’s NATO allies (the Czech Republic and Hungary) and the aircraft is also operated by the air forces of South Africa, Sweden and Thailand.
Croatia has struggled to find replacements for its ageing fleet of MiG-21 aircraft. An RfP for 12 fighters was issued in January 2020 to seven possible sources of new or second-hand fighters: France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the US.
Just three months later the government suspended the tender, citing a need to divert funds to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
If the Swedish government is confident enough to submit an offer, it seems that the procurement programme may be resurrected.
However, Gripen C/D failed to win favour in the first attempt by Croatia to procure new fighter aircraft, as second-hand Israeli F-16s were preferred. This deal was subsequently scuppered by US objections.
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