AAD: South Africa receives last four Gripens

Johannesburg
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Saab has formally handed over its last four of 26 Gripen C/D fighters ordered by South Africa.

The aircraft were delivered in Sweden earlier this year so that South African Air Force pilots could participate in a multinational Gripen exercise staged in the Nordic country and called "Lion Effort", says Magnus Lewis-Olsson, president of Saab South Africa.

The Gripens delivered to South Africa are "probably the most modern" versions of the aircraft, Lewis-Olsson says.

 

Peter Liander/Saab

The integration of the South African/Brazilian-developed A-Darter air-to-air missile is complete, along with the Thales digital joint reconnaissance pod. The SAAF's aircraft have also received a helmet-mounted display, which is a first for the Gripen, Lewis-Olsson says.

But even though development is complete, the aircraft will be continually modernised. The next update is the Weapon System 20 standard, which will be added soon.

 

Mark Mansfield

A twin-seat Gripen D took part in the air display at the Africa Aerospace & Defence show

Lewis-Olsson says that South Africa should consider adding parts of Saab's next-generation Gripen E/F modernisation to its fleet, or even consider participation in the programme, which has already received the support of the Swedish and Swiss governments.

Lewis-Olsson says that the Gripen's prospects look promising; he projects sales of up to 300 aircraft in the coming years.