Kockums on submarines, Australia and Japan

Gunnar Wieslander, new chief executive of shipyard Kockums AB, tells DI the shipyard is about to launch the A26 submarine for export, and is aiming for contracts with the Netherlands, Norway and Poland. He is also convinced that there will be business opportunities with Australia.
Kockums’ boss also says he would like to strengthen ties with Japan’s shipbuilding industry, and is full of praise over ongoing cooperation with Kawasaki and JMU. He confirms that talks with the Japanese are ongoing, but falls short of commenting on whether Japan, which is offering its submarine technology Soryu to Australia, is willing to cooperate with Kockums.

Alarm over new export law

The proposal to tighten legislation on Swedish exports of war materiel will impact negatively on Swedish exports, innovation, jobs and defence capability, warns the defence industry.
The value of Swedish exports would fall by SKr 40 billion by 2023, if Sweden adds a democracy criteria to current defence export legislation, says defence analyst company IHS Jane.
“Competitors would most likely use it as a reason to rid themselves of Swedish suppliers in the chain of supply,” predicts Robert Limmergård, diretor general of the Swedish security and defence industry association (SOFF).
Saab defence group may be forced to look over its future investments in Sweden, hints Håkan Buskhe, chief executive of Saab. The company employs 12,000 of its 15,000 staff in 50 localities around Sweden.

Bydén on lease of fighter jets

Pending the delivery of Gripen NG fighter jets, Brazil may well be the last export customer to lease Gripen C/D jets from the Swedish operational fleet, reports Dagens Industri.

Just days after Saab’s export deal with Brazil, incoming Supreme Commander Micael Bydén has said that the Swedish Air Force has “limited opportunity” to lend Gripen C/D fighter jets to other countries, and that a new leasing agreement of the kind reached with Switzerland last year would be imprudent. Developments in Russia and last year’s annexation of Crimea have led Swedish politicians to call for a strong defence force that can scramble fighter jets in no time.

Sweden currently has an operational fleet of around 90 Gripen C/D fighter aircraft. Brazil wants to lease some 10 aircraft by 2016, and Slovakia six. Malaysia has also expressed interest in leasing Gripen fighter jets, and Thailand wishes to procure another six planes. Saab is also in talks with Indonesia and India.

“Basically, this is positive for Sweden, for industry and for the development of the Gripen system, and for the economy. But one has to understand that resources are limited …,” says Bydén.

His words are likely to cause Saab problems. However, one possible solution would be to upgrade Gripen A fighters to the Gripen C model. Saab could also build new Gripen C/D fighters if needed.

Brazil Gripen deal takes effect

Yesterday the Saab defence and security group announced that the contract signed with Brazil in October 2014 for the supply of 36 Gripen NG combat aircraft has come into effect. The conditions from Brazil associated with the financing of the deal have been fulfilled. Brazil will pay for the SKr 39.3 billion order with credit from the Swedish export credit corporation (SEK).
The aircraft will be built both in Sweden and Brazil and deliveries will run from 2019 to 2024.
Håkan Buskhe, CEO of Saab, said the deal would mean growing interest in Gripen and other Saab products. The defence group has Gripen deals in the pipeline with Belgium, Indonesia, India and Finland.

Minister on defence needs

With tensions running high in the Baltic and Nordic regions, Sweden cannot transfer surplus defence equipment to other countries in the same way as it has done in the past, Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist has told business daily Dagens Industri (DI).

“I am not prepared to jeopardise Sweden’s needs or its defence capability in any way,” he said.

The minister, who was recently in India to discuss the country’s interest in the Gripen fighter jet, has also told the paper that the Swedish government is prepared to support Saab, and to reach government to government agreements with India.

Sweden and India may agree on defence deal

Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist held talks with India’s Defence Minister and government representatives on Wednesday. Their meeting focused on extensive collaboration within the defence industry between the two countries, according to Reuters news agency, with reference to a billion dollar package.

An Indian defence ministry official told Reuters that the talks included military hardware, aircraft and shipyards in India where plans are being outlined for construction of next generation warships and submarines.

The talks also focused on Sweden helping to modernise India’s air force. Defence and security company Saab has offered to produce its single engine Gripen fighter in India, report international news agencies.

Saab hopes to sell to Bulgaria

imagesDefence and security group Saab is currently developing the next generation of the JAS 39E/F fighter jet; the first of the 60 new JAS Gripen 39E fighters will be delivered to the Swedish Air Force in 2019, the same year that Brazil will take delivery of the first of the 36 JAS 39E/F fighters it has ordered.

At the same time as the first test plane is being assembled in Linköping, Saab is also trying to find buyers for its current version of the fighter, the JAS Gripen C/D, which is currently flown by the Swedish, Czech and Hungarian air forces, among others.

Jerker Ahlqvist, head of business unit Gripen, says the group wants to exploit its strong standing in central Europe as a number of countries aim to replace their outdated Russian planes. Saab is in talks with Slovakia (where a decision is expected some time this year), and Bulgaria has expressed interest.

Ulf Nilsson, head of business area Aeronautics, believes Bulgaria is looking at 14-15 fighter jets and that Lockheed Martin with its F-35 will be the defence and security group’s main competitor in years to come.