Sweden and Saab’s Gripen Offer to Croatia to Bring Long-term Defence Solution
On 9th of September, Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) and the Swedish Embassy in Croatia submitted a proposal of 12 Gripen C/D fighters to the Croatian government. Additionally, Saab is also offering a tailor-made strategic cooperation package that will foster a long-term partnership with strategic sectors while boosting the Croatian defence industry and national security.
“Sweden and Saab are offering a comprehensive and long-term solution for Croatian homeland security that will protect Croatia’s people and borders for decades to come,” says Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and head of Saab business area Aeronautics. “If Croatia chooses Gripen, Saab is ready to transfer know-how and technology and establish a Regional Aeronautical & Support Service Centre in the country. This would develop a long-term cooperation with local defence industry as well as the academic sector, generating some 500 high-tech jobs,” Hjelm adds.
According to Janes, the offer is in parallel with the Croatian Air Force’s need to replace its ageing fleet of 12 MiG-21 fighters, out of which, only between three and six are understood to be operational. Adding the Gripen fighters to the Croatian Air Force (HRZ) will enhance the defence scenario of Croatia by leaps and bounds through the multi-role capabilities of the fighters that will help them perform an extensive range of air-to-air, air-to-ground and reconnaissance missions.
Gripen is also perfect for NATO Quick Reaction Alerts, as demonstrated by NATO countries such as Hungary and the Czech Republic that operate the fighter. The STOL (Short Take off and Landing) capabilities of Gripen, coupled with its unparalleled EW (Electronic Warfare) suite, and on-going evolution of its systems will further help Croatia remain operational and NATO interoperable for decades to come.