Why is Gripen Right For Finland?

Why should Finland buy Gripen? Answering this question at the recently held Gripen Annual Seminar, Eddy De La Motte, Head of Saab's Gripen E/F business unit, said, "Saab has presented Finland with a very competitive offer. It's a complete package with Gripen E and the two-seater F, and GlobalEye. We also have offered to help Finland build its own design and development center, and develop capabilities to produce spare parts, assemble aircraft and upgrade them in future.”

Eddy said that Sweden and Finland are neighbors, they have similar weather conditions and face similar kind of threat environment. Gripen’s ability to operate out of dispersed airbases under tough weather conditions was also discussed during the seminar. Adding to that discussion, Torgny Fälthammar, Head of Gripen Program, Air Staff, Swedish Air Force, said that using dispersed bases to spread our assets is an old concept in Sweden which is still very relevant. “I would like to mention that in joint exercises with Finnish Air Force before, we have already practiced operating out of regular roads in Finland,” he said.  

Earlier this year, two Gripen fighters - a Gripen NG demonstrator 39-7, and a Gripen E (39-10), equipped with Meteor, IRIS-T and the Electronic Attack Jammer Pod, were sent to Finland to participate in Finland’s HX Challenge (a test designed to evaluate potential fighters for the country). The two week test programme was aimed at evaluating fighter capabilities under Finnish conditions.

Saab’s offer to Finland includes a substantial weapon and sensor package, associated services, transfer of repair, maintenance and overhaul capabilities, and assembly of the aircraft. Industrial cooperation package aiming at building security of supply is also a very important part of the Saab offer.

Finland is expected to announce a procurement decision in 2021.