Saab’s Gripen F test aircraft touched down in Emmen, Switzerland on 3 October, as part of a campaign to sell 22 of the new-generation combat aircraft to the nation’s air force.
Accompanied on its 2h journey from Linköping in Sweden by a twin-seat Gripen D, the next-generation development aircraft will remain in Switzerland for 10 days. During this time it will be shown to personnel from the nation’s defence committees and also appear at the Axalp air show on 10-11 October. The aircraft will be flown by pilots from the Swiss air force and Armasuisse defence procurement agency during the public event.
Switzerland in November 2011 selected the Gripen as the preferred candidate for a requirement to replace its Northrop F-5 fighters. Discussions over a planned Swfr3.1 billion ($3.3 billion) deal are expected to run until a contract can be signed between late 2013 and mid-2014. Aircraft deliveries are expected to commence during 2018.
French manufacturer Dassault is, meanwhile, continuing its efforts to offer the Rafale for the Swiss requirement, after losing out in the earlier selection process, along with the Eurofighter Typhoon.