Expecting the final Request For Proposal (RFP) from the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) by mid-2019, Saab is all set to offer 88 Canadian-made Gripen E fighters to the country, reports Flight Global.
The RCAF had issued the draft RFP back in October last year to acquire new fighter planes to replace the existing Boeing CF-18A/B Hornet fleet for which Gripen E/F had also been shortlisted.
Patrick Palmer, Senior Vice-President, Saab Canada, confirms that Saab is hoping to follow the same process that helped it seal the deal in Brazil. “We think this is the model that makes sense for Canada. We’re going down that path but we’re also looking at how the RFP is written and what the customer values. Certainly if that (technology transfer) is what the customer values for Canada, then it is something that we can easily do,” he says.
Besides technology transfer, Saab can also offer the integration of U.S. and other non-Saab equipment with Gripen E so that it is interoperable with American forces. “Moving forward with the Gripen E, we see no problem whatsoever to integrate that fighter into a NORAD context,” says Per Alriksson of Saab Aeronautics.
According to another news report in The National Post, the Department of National Defence in Canada expects the first delivery of jets for the Canadian program in the mid-2020s with the full capability available in the early 2030s.
According to Saab, Gripen is built for Canadian weather conditions. "Gripen is designed specifically for operations in the Arctic, giving it a leg up on other planes. Sweden has air force bases in what you call the far North. We operate there daily. Gripen has Arctic DNA built into it,” Per Alriksson says.