The Gripen may not have been in the frame for Singapore's New Generation Fighter competition, but observers believe it may be well placed to meet future requirements, in particular the replacement for the Republic of Singapore Air Force's F-5S Tigers.

It is believed that Gripen was briefly considered by the RSAF before six manufacturers received formal RFPs for the current requirement. The export version of the Gripen was then not sufficiently advanced or mature to be seriously considered, and the evolving requirement increasingly favoured heavier, longer-range aircraft.


However, the RSAF has been exposed to the aircraft. Gripen International is believed to have been highlighting the aircraft's ability to operate from forward operating bases and road strips (already a practice of the RSAF fast jet squadrons) and by the Gripen's unique combination of low-cost, minimal support requirements and advanced net-centric capabilities.


Perhaps of most interest to Singapore will be Gripen's ability to integrate new ORE (operational role equipment) from a wide variety of sources, freeing the aircraft from reliance on weapons and other systems from a single country or bloc, and allowing new weapons to be introduced without amending or re-clearing the flight control system (FCS).

All of Singapore's existing fast jet types have increasingly adopted Israeli defensive avionics systems and weapons, so the fact that Gripen has already been cleared with the Israeli Python IV AAM (which equips RSAF F-5s) and Spice LGB may be of particular interest.

Gripen's FCS also retains the aircraft's carefree handling regardless of the load carried, ensuring that a Gripen will always fly like a Gripen.


Source: Flight Daily News