Saab's Gripen offer to Finland, which was announced in June 2019, included Gripen fighters along with GlobalEye AEW&C capability to replace the Finnish Air Force's ageing fleet of Hornets. Here’s what the Gripen offer to Finland entails and what it means for the Finnish Defence Forces.
Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) capability
Using an array of sensors and Saab's powerful Erieye ER (Extended Range) radar, GlobalEye provides the most advanced AEW&C solution in the world. It is a true multi-role system and just like Gripen, the GlobalEye AEW&C is also designed to operate in a wide range of missions in all domains. As explained by Anders Carp, Senior Vice President and head of Saab’s business area Surveillance, the Gripen fighter, combined with GlobalEye, will provide a substantial contribution to the joint operational capability of the Finnish Defence Forces.
A test was conducted during early 2020 under extreme Finnish winter conditions, which mostly aimed at verifying the data reported by the fighter manufacturers and to check if the performance values were applicable in the Finnish working environment. Saab had a successful participation with Gripen and GlobalEye AEW&C at the flight evaluation.
Beneficial capability transfer
Saab's offer to Finland also includes an industrial co-operation programme aimed at building extensive national capabilities for Security of Supply. This part of the offer involves transfer of maintenance, repair and overhaul capabilities to local industries, parts production and final assembly of aircraft as well as an establishment of a sustainment and development centre in Finland.
A complete Electronic Warfare Package
A more recent addition to the Finnish Gripen offer includes the new decoy missile and Electronic Attack Jammer Pod (EAJP) which was announced at the 2020 Kauhava Airshow. Saab's latest Lightweight Air-Launched Decoy Missile known as LADM, along with the new EAJP, will enhance the existing EW capabilities of Gripen. The LADM and EAJP can be used as powerful countermeasures against the opponent by creating false targets and jamming the opponent's radars respectively in order to protect the aircraft and increase survivability of the pilot.
The decoy missile will constitute a strong addition to Gripen E/F’s built-in electronic attack capabilities and give Gripen an edge in the Finnish HX program. Additionally, the development of the decoy missile in Finland will mean more high-skilled jobs in the country.
“The outstanding capabilities of Gripen are an excellent match for the Finnish needs and requirements. With Gripen, Finland can renew its fighter fleet without compromising on the number of fighters owing to a truly competitive life-cycle cost. Our offer constitutes a substantial contribution to the operational capability of the Finnish Defence Forces”, says Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and head of Saab Business Area Aeronautics.
The announcement of the procurement will most likely take place next year.