Saab intends to play a bigger role in pursuing export sales of the Gripen fourth-generation fighter, says chief executive Ake Svensson who believes that the best way to build on past successes would be through greater Saab control of the process.

"It was always envisaged that Saab would play a bigger role in export sales of its core product - and that is what is happening," he says.

Gripen International will remain the prime contractor for the Gripen export effort, and will continue to draw on the expertise and resources of both its shareholders.

Saab's recent half-yearly report made it clear that "Saab, together with BAE Systems, now will develop the future co-operation between the companies in order to optimise Gripen's marketing and sales organisation for further international efforts.

The ambition is that Saab takes an increasing marketing responsibility in the future."

Executive vice-president Jan Nygren said at Farnborough that the change in approach was designed to avoid conflict with Eurofighter Typhoon, in which BAE Systems plays a leading role in many of the export campaigns.

There is felt to be particular danger of conflicts of interest in Switzerland, where both fighters will be offered.

Nygren emphasised that the BAE's investment and input in Gripen had been beneficial, particularly in lending credibility to the aircraft's NATO interoperability, and to Gripen International's innovative and generous offset packages, flexible financing and genuine industrial participation opportunities.


Gripen International managing director Ian McNamee agreed there could be a "conflict of interest for BAE in Switzerland, and that Saab should therefore take a leading role in places like that".

He emphasised that there would be no impact on Gripen International's organisational structure, which would still be an Anglo-Swedish organisation, and which will use Saab and BAE's marketing organisations at particular times, depending on the circumstances.

"Both shareholders remain fully committed and I am very happy with the arrangements."



Source: Flight Daily News