19 May 16. Sweden ‘In Talks’ With Botswana Over Gripen C/D Fighter Jets. Sweden’s state-funded military materials procurement agency is denying that a deal has been struck to sell 12 Saab JAS Gripen C/D multirole fighters to Botswana. Försvarets Materielverk (FMV) confirmed that while the organization is “in talks” with Botswana, the number of aircraft under discussion is around eight and not 16.
The aircraft type, the JAS Gripen C/D, is an older version of the Gripen. It is thought that Botswana is looking to secure a low cost value deal and buy eight surplus aircraft of this type.
Initial reports out of Botswana suggested that a procurement contract valued at up to $1.7bn had been signed with FMV.
“What we can confirm is that a dialogue has been initiated with Botswana, and that the discussions are about eight aircraft of the C/D version,” FMV spokesperson Linda Bengtsson said.
The Gripen is no stranger to Africa — Saab has sold 26 Gripens to the South African Air Force. The deliveries, which began in 2008, comprised 17 single-seat Gripen C-models and nine two-seater Gripen D-models.
Botswana’s military currently uses 40-year old Canadair CF-5C/D aircraft. The southern African country has also been linked to a possible purchase of the combat version of the T-50 Golden Eagle produced by Korea Aerospace Industries.
Saab’s biggest sale deals for the JAS Gripen have been with Sweden, Brazil, Thailand and South Africa. The Gripen has been offered to Croatia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia with buy or lease options. Saab is also set to pitch the Gripen-NG in several major European fighter replacement competitions being run in Poland and Finland.
Saab is also engaged in customizing an offer to sell the Gripen-NG fighter to the Indian Air Force.
A consortium that includes Saab, the FMV, and the ministries of defense and trade are preparing a structured offer to India that will contain a significant industrial, technology transfer as well as local development and production components. (Source: Defense News)
19 May 16. Norway Eyes P-3 Replacement, ISR Capabilities. As Norway eyes the completion of a four-year defense strategy, a top defense official pledged the country will invest in its maritime capabilities, including spending to replace its aging P-3 and submarine fleets.
Øystein Bø, Norway’s deputy defense minister, said the defense review, which he called in the “final stages” of development, will “continue to maintain and develop armed forces that develop situational awareness, deterrence and defense.”
“We will be looking at replacing the aging P-3 maritime patrol aircraft, we will look to replace our submarine fleet, we will continue to invest in ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance], and we will stay on course to acquire the F-35,” Bø pledged.
The deputy did not go into more details about what might replace those aging systems, but the Boeing P-8 would be a logical follow-on for Norway to replace the P-3, especially as the US intends to operate the P-8 out of a base in Iceland in the near future. As to submarines, the Norwegian government is looking to either DCNS of France or ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems of Germany to replace its six Ula-class boats.
Speaking at the NADIC Norwegian-American Defense Conference here, Bø also gave a whole-hearted defense of the F-35 program.
“This program has been far more successful than the press would lead you to believe. With the F-35, Norway will receive a crucial cutting-edge capability that will be the backbone of our future defense forces,” he said.
The F-35 also provides a potential road map for how the US can work with allied nations like Norway in order to develop and acquire new capabilities, Bø indicated.
“It has been a true partnership between the participating nations, [with] close allies and partners working together through the joint program office,” he said. “It will develop the capability that strengthens our mutual capability. This is burde