A Cost-Effective Package to Croatia
As the Croatian Fighter Jet competition nears its end, Swedish officials from Saab and FMV (Defence Materiel Administration) enumerate reasons why the Gripen package should be the most ideal choice for Croatia.
One important factor that small countries like Sweden and Croatia consider is cost-effectiveness, with regards to both purchase and maintenance of the aircraft throughout its lifecycle. According to Göran Mårtensson, Director General of FMV, the Gripen package includes all the elements needed by Croatia in order to maintain the aircraft. "All Croatia needs to add is its staff, fuel, and an air base," Mårtensson says. "There will be no hidden or sudden costs. The package containing our offer is of the same type as the one successfully delivered to Hungary and the Czech Republic," he adds.
Constant upgradation of capabilities
Currently, Gripen C/D is the backbone of the Swedish Air Force and will be for a foreseeable future. Thanks to the constant upgrades and future-proof capabilities of the aircraft, the same can be achieved for Croatia. Through continuous updates of the aircraft's hardware, software, sensors and weapons systems, the Croatian Air Force will be better equipped and ready to handle new threats for decades.
"All current operators can confirm that regular upgrades make Gripen C most likely the best available such aircraft in the market today," says Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Area Aeronautics at Saab. "The fighter jet will remain operational and competitive for decades to come as the manufacturer keeps all current Gripen C operators in mind, as well as their need to be competitive and use the latest technologies in their homeland security processes," adds Jonas Hjelm.
A boost in the local defense industry
Saab further plans to have future projects lined up towards Croatia's goal of achieving sustainable development of security technologies. As a part of this, Saab is ready to implement a comprehensive package that involves technology and knowledge transfer through an establishment of a Regional Aeronautical Aviation Support Centre.
According to Jonas Hjelm, the project would lead to long-term cooperation between Saab, the Croatian defense industry, and the academic sector. In the long run, the Gripen programme would generate over 500 sustainable high-tech jobs and even return well over 50% of the total contract value over the life of the aircraft purchased.
"Over time, with the development of capabilities for the maintenance and support of military and commercial aircraft and helicopters, and the parallel development of specific areas of technology related to the establishment of a local supply chain of spare parts and components, Croatia could become a regional hub for the supply, maintenance and support of military and commercial aircraft and helicopters," explains Hjelm.
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