Apr 29, 2015

Saab not selling Gripens to Argentina

A proposed sale of 24 Saab Gripen E/F combat aircraft to Argentina is highly unlikely to happen, a senior company representative told reporters on 27 April.
"[A Gripen sale to Argentina] is not something that we are involved in, and isn't something that we would consider at present. Maybe in the future, if relations with the UK were to improve it could happen, or [if relations don't improve] then perhaps we could source some [UK-made] components from elsewhere, but right now no," representative said.
Nilsson referenced the United Kingdom as the British government has indicated that it would veto any Gripen E sale to Argentina, which disputes its sovereignty of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas). The United Kingdom will manufacturer many of the aircraft's flight and mission systems.
Prior to Saab's most recent statement on the issue, Brazilian government officials had said that they did not think that the United Kingdom would veto any such sale to Argentina (Brazil's interest in the sale lies in the fact that the Argentine aircraft would likely be sourced from its licenced production facility that is being set up to partially satisfy the Brazilian Air Force's order for 36 aircraft).
It is likely that Argentina will not be able to wait this long for a replacement fighter anyhow, and while this might make the country an attractive prospect for the Gripen C/D, which Saab is to continue marketing and developing in parallel to the E/F, the Swedish manufacturer is unlikely to want to upset such an important industrial partner as the United Kingdom in offering even this aircraft.
The Gripen E is one of a number of types that have been linked with a possible Argentine sale over recent months. Others include surplus Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons from the United States, the Israel Aerospace Industries Kfir, CAC FC-1 (JF-17 Thunder), and J-10 fighters from China as well as Sukhoi Su-24 'Fencer' aircraft leased from Russia. While some commentators have dismissed the Su-24 proposal as a Latin American hoax, it surfaced again only a few days ago during a meeting between Russian president Vladimir Putin and Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Of all these options though, the Chinese FC-1 proposal appears to be the frontrunner at this stage.

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