Gripen: A Strong Hx Offer
On January 30, 2019, Saab submitted its proposal for the Finnish HX fighter procurement. The proposal included highly capable Gripen fighters with the GlobalEye Airborne Early Warning & Control system.
As the programme awaits the Request for Best and Final Offer (BAFO) from the five bidders, here are a few reasons why Gripen would be the ideal fighter for Finland:
Sweden and Finland have similar requirements
According to Brig. Gen. Anders Persson, the Swedish deputy chief of the Air Force, both the countries have similar threat environments. “There are air-to-air encounters on a weekly basis. Like Sweden, Finland also needs highly capable defence forces focussed on technical and tactical superiority. In case of a strike, we need to take care of ourselves,” he said.
Like Sweden, Finland also has the requirement to operate out of dispersed air bases. Gripen, with its STOL capabilities and short turnaround time, totally fits the bill.
Areas of Cooperation
Both Finland and Sweden have participated in several joint exercises for years. The interoperability can be honed further with joint trainings of ground personnel and technicians in future. If both countries have the same aircraft, security of supply, in terms of spare parts, will also be an advantage.
As per Brig. Persson, in the event of a large number of enemy aircraft entering the Finnish airspace, the air fleet can use bases in the neighbouring Sweden. “It would be like one air force with two commanders,” he said.
The GlobalEye Edge
Saab’s offer includes two GlobalEye Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft which would increase Finland's situational awareness by providing vital intelligence and offering extensive pre-warning time for first strike survivability. It can also off-load the HX fighter by taking care of a lot of surveillance work itself, acting as a force multiplier for the Air Force.
Saab is currently preparing its final offer for Finland that will be submitted next month.