Saab has announced a slate of partners who will participate in its Gripen E campaign for Ottowa’s requirement for 88 new fighters.

The company says that the “Gripen for Canada Team” will comprise IMP Aerospace & Defence, CAE, Peraton Canada, and GE Aviation.

“Over the past two years, Saab and the Swedish Government have been encouraged by Canada’s open and transparent competition to replace its fighter fleet,” says Jonas Hjelm, head of aeronautics at Saab.

“Saab is committed to securing long-term relationships in Canada that will create a significant number of highly-skilled, sustainable jobs for Canadians within domestic and international supply chains.”

IMP Aerospace & Defence will participate in indigenous production and support, CAE will provide training and “mission systems solutions,” and Peraton Canada MRO related support. GE Aviation, which produces the fighter’s F414 engine, “will provide and sustain the fighter’s engines in Canada.” The bid is supported by the Swedish government.

“The Canadian Request for Proposal requires companies to deliver high-quality industrial and technological benefits, such as Saab has demonstrated with Gripen for Brazil and is offering for Finland and India’s fighter requirements,” adds the company.

Saab has two competitors for the deal: the Boeing F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin F-35A.

In 30 August, the UK Ministry of Defence Ministry and Airbus Defence & Space said the Eurofighter Typhoon would not compete for the requirement. Another potential contender, the Dassault Rafale, was not listed as a potential candidate in the competition’s July 2019 request for proposals.

A contract award is expected in early 2022, with the first aircraft delivery potentially in 2025.

Ottawa had wanted to buy 18 Super Hornets to fill a capability gap, but this possibility collapsed amid a 2017 trade dispute with the USA initiated by Boeing against the then Bombardier CSeries programme, which has subsequently become the Airbus A220.

Instead, Canada entered a deal with Australia to buy up to 25 surplus F/A-18A/B “Classic” Hornets. The move is intended to temporarily shore up its ageing fleet of 85 CF-18 (officially designated CF-188) fighters.