Saab has received a major contract to complete development work on its next-generation Gripen E multirole combat aircraft, with the new Swedish commitment worth SKr10.7 billion ($1.64 billion).

Finalised by the nation's Defence Materiel Administration, the new order includes "definition and development work, as well as adaptation of test and trial equipment, simulators and rigs", says Saab. Covering activities to be performed between the 2015 and 2023 fiscal years, the 22 March contract follows an initial SKr2.5 billion deal, placed in mid-February and to run through 2014.

Current plans call for Sweden to fund the modernisation of 60 Gripen Cs to the E-model configuration for its air force, with deliveries to start in 2018 and the project to conclude in 2026. Also contained within an umbrella deal worth a maximum SKr47.2 billion is a pending order to manufacture 22 new-build examples for Switzerland.

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"Remaining orders within the agreement are expected in 2013-2014," says Saab. Company chief executive Hakan Buskhe believes the commitment will give the Gripen "a strong competitive advantage" in export competitions.

Source: Flight International