Air2030: Saab Does Not Participate in Flight and Ground Trials for A New Fighter Jet (NKF)
(Source: Swiss Defense Procurement agency, Armasuisse; issued June 13, 2019)
(Unofficial translation by
BERN --- On Thursday, June 13, 2019, the Swedish manufacturer Saab informed armasuisse that Saab would not participate in the flight and ground trials for a new fighter plane for the Swiss Army in Payerne with the Gripen E.

The trial for the Gripen E was scheduled from 24 to 28 June 2019. With its non-participation in the flight and ground testing, Gripen E leaves the evaluation process.

Returning to the flight and ground testing at a later stage would contradict the principle of equal treatment for all candidates, and is not an option.

Since the beginning of 2018, armasuisse has been in regular contact with all applicants and has clearly explained both the process and the criteria.

Based on current information and analysis on the degree of maturity and the integration of the subsystems, specialists from armasuisse and the Swiss Air Force came to the conclusion that several of the planned missions could not be carried out expediently. (Emphasis added—Ed.)

For this reason, armasuisse has recommended that Saab withdraw from the evaluation.

Apparently, Saab also came to the conclusion and separately estimated not to participate in the flight and ground trials.

The following four candidates remain in the evaluation:
-- Airbus with the Eurofighter (DE)
-- Boeing with the F / A-18 Super Hornet (USA)
-- Dassault with the Rafale (FRA)
-- Lockheed Martin with the F-35A (USA)

Further procedure in the project New Fighter Jet

The findings of the analysis and testing phase will be summarized separately in expert reports by armasuisse in collaboration with the Army Staff, Air Force, Army Logistics Base and Leadership Support Base. These technical reports are the basis for a systematic and comprehensive comparison between the candidates, which will be carried out in the second half of 2020. The technical reports also serve to determine the required fleet size for each type of aircraft.

armasuisse will, on the basis of the current timetable, prepare a second offer request on this basis and submit it to the candidates.

Using the findings of the second offer, armasuisse will compare the candidates on the basis of the technical reports and determine the total benefits per candidate. Then the evaluation report will be prepared in which the respective total benefit will be compared with the procurement and operating costs for 30 years.

The type selection decision is made by the Federal Council.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Armasuisse could not be reached for clarifications, while a promised clarification from Saab had not arrived by deadline. Both will be added as and if they arrive.)


Saab Not Attending Swiss Flight Tests
(Source: Saab; issued June 13, 2019)
The Swiss defence procurement agency, armasuisse, has formally recommended to Saab not to participate with Gripen E in the upcoming flight tests in Switzerland.

The reason is that the flight tests have been designed to only evaluate aircraft that are operationally ready in 2019. The flight tests are part of the fighter evaluation process that foresees aircraft deliveries in 2025. Gripen E will enter into operational service years before Switzerland has scheduled deliveries and will meet all its defined capabilities.

However, the Gripen E development plan does not match the Swiss plan to perform flight tests with aircraft that are operationally ready in 2019. Therefore, Saab has decided not to attend the Swiss flight tests in Payerne 24-28 June.

Gripen E is currently being developed, tested and produced for Sweden and Brazil. It is the most modern and technologically advanced fighter aircraft being developed. The programme is running at a fast and successful speed, with customer deliveries starting later this year.

Upon an invitation from armasuisse, Saab submitted a proposal for Gripen E on 25 January 2019. Since the submission of the proposal in January, the armasuisse’ expectations on the flight tests have evolved to expect participation of operationally ready aircraft. As Gripen E is yet to become operational, Saab has presented solutions to perform the Swiss flight tests in 2019.

An offer to complement the Gripen E test aircraft with an operational Gripen C aircraft for the flight tests in June 2019 has not been accepted by armasuisse. Competitors have showcased capabilities on existing platforms, which are different to the versions offered for delivery.

Throughout the Gripen E programme Saab has publicly communicated the status of the Gripen E’s development as key programme milestones have been passed. It can be assumed that armasuisse had the relevant knowledge when they invited Saab to participate in the tender process in 2018, of both the Gripen E development programme and the conditions under which Gripen E would be able to compete.

We believe that Gripen E is the best choice for Switzerland and the offer, as presented in January 2019, still stands. Saab is committed to deliver at least 40 Gripen E fighter aircraft on time, meeting requirements and within planned budget, including a comprehensive support concept with local contribution, guaranteeing the most affordable operating costs and the highest level of autonomy.


Switzerland has a need to replace its fighter fleet of F/A-18 Hornet and F-5 E/F Tiger aircraft. In January 2019, Saab offered a proposal consisting of options for 30, and 40, new build Gripen E fighter aircraft to Switzerland. The Gripen E proposal satisfies all required capabilities for Switzerland and is based on the Swedish Air Force configuration as requested.

In the previous Swiss fighter aircraft procurement process, Saab offered Switzerland Gripen E in a joint procurement with Sweden. At the time, the Gripen E time plan was aligned to meet the Swiss requirement for IOC in 2021. When Switzerland decided to stop its acquisition of new fighters in 2014, the time plan was changed and adapted after Swedish and Brazilian requirements.

At the time of delivery, Gripen E will provide the Swiss Air Force with the very latest available technology integrated into a mature and robust platform that meets all the Swiss needs. Gripen E stands out among the contenders in the Swiss fighter procurement as the newest aircraft system.

The Gripen E programme is progressing according to plan, with production on-going and customer deliveries starting this year. The latest technologies are being incorporated to provide air forces with operational capabilities designed to defeat the threats of today but also the future. Key milestones achieved during the past six months include flights with IRIS-T and Meteor, as well as the third Gripen E aircraft’s first flight.

Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions within military defence and civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents around the world. Through innovative, collaborative and pragmatic thinking, Saab develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: A Saab spokesman said he could not answer any questions by telephone, and requested an e-mail message to which the company had not replied by noon CET.)


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