Saab's next-generation Gripen demonstrator is in the UK carrying a newly installed active electronically scanned array radar, with the technology representing a key element of the Swedish company's success in offering the fighter to the Swiss air force. Installed at Saab's Linköping site on 16 June, Selex Galileo's Raven ES-05 will be shown with the aircraft for the first time at the Farnborough air show.
The availability of the new array will be a pivotal factor in closing an expected 22-aircraft Gripen E/F deal with Switzerland, with pilots from the nation to assess the technology in flight testing from around late August or early September. The sensor can be repositioned by +/-100˚ to increase scan coverage.
Saab is now in "real negotiations" with the Swiss government to agree on a final contract value and delivery schedule, says Richard Smith, the company's regional marketing director for Europe, Gripen export. A framework agreement is likely to be signed in the "late summer", he says.
The Swedish and Swiss governments recently signed a letter of intent to cooperate on the Gripen E/F, with the former also looking to potentially buy the type.
Brazil is also currently being offered the Gripen E/F in a contest with the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Dassault Rafale. Smith says Saab is also looking to pursue any opportunity that may emerge in Denmark and the Netherlands: both partners in Lockheed Martin's F-35 programme. "The Swiss decision has built a good platform" for further sales of the new version, he notes.