Gripen team submits improved offer to Polish Air Force

 
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IL Serge Pod #06.01.2001 00:52
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Gripen team submits improved offer to Polish Air Force

4 January 2001

SAAB-BAE SYSTEMS Gripen has offered to lend at least 16 Gripen fourth-generation, swing-role fighters to meet the short-term NATO and national defence needs of the Polish Air Force. It builds on ideas first proposed in June 1999, but is no longer linked to the long-term purchase of new aircraft.

The revised proposal includes the provision of 14 single-seat and two twin-seat Gripen fighters and provides the Polish Air Force with a full five years of operations following delivery, equivalent to at least 12,000 flying hours with one of the world's most advanced and capable multi-role fighters.

Poland can extend the initial loan period or replace loan aircraft with new Gripen fighters as part of a larger purchase.

Supporting the "loan for use" Gripen proposal is a low-cost integrated support package including in-country pilot and technical representation, spares, technical publications, ground support equipment and training devices.

The Swedish Air Force and UK's Royal Air Force will also be involved, helping with the early establishment of a team of multi-role instructors, combat-ready pilots, technicians and fighter controllers. In addition, English language and NATO operational flying experience would be provided in the UK and maintenance, operational and tactical flying training in Sweden.

A comprehensive offset programme, involving both the aerospace/defence and commercial sectors and including participation in the privatisation of the Polish defence industry will provide 100 per cent economic compensation for expenditure incurred by the Polish government.

Gripen partners Saab and BAE SYSTEMS have been strengthening links with Polish industry over the last five years and have already placed work packages and tenders worth more than USD 30 million with a number of factories and institutes.

"The selection of Gripen will allow Poland to achieve its NATO and national defence commitments with a level of operational capability that is second to none," states Julian Scopes, sales and marketing director Saab-BAE SYSTEMS Gripen.

"Gripen is not just a bridge to an aspiration. It will allow the Polish Air Force to develop for the future using the most modern and capable swing-role fighter available today while providing real opportunities for employment creation and the generation of export revenues for the national economy."

Poland, which joined NATO in 1999, has to replace its ageing fleet of MiG 21 aircraft that are expected to go out of service in 2005 with a NATO compatible aircraft, but does not have the financial resources to buy new aircraft. Competing aircraft manufacturers are keen to lease aircraft in the expectation that when Poland is able to purchase new aircraft it will stick to the type for which it has trained pilots and technicians.

There are similar offers from the United States and France. Lockheed martin is offering F-16s , with Poland only paying for modernisation and for training of pilots and technicians, but with a commitment to buy F-16s at the end of the lease. France has made a similar offer of its Mirage-2000-5 Mk2 fighters promising to assemble them in Poland.

A decision is expected by the end of June.


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