Defence 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says the group wants to exploit its strong standing in central Europe as a number of countries aim to replace their outdated Russian planes.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.