Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President & Head of Business Area Aeronautics of Saab AB, as interviewed by Bloomberg, made remarks on the Colombian AF fighter tender and future sales prospects as well.
“To win in Brazil was huge,” the executive said by telephone. “It really puts us on the world map. The T-X is also a huge thing. The Brazilian air force and the U.S. air force, they don’t choose a product that’s not a good product. It’s a recognition, and I think we’ll benefit overall.”
Bloomberg also published that “Among the brightest order prospects are a requirement for 64 fighters from Sweden’s neighbor Finland, a Canadian tender for 88 jets where Eurofighter and Dassault have already pulled out, Croatia’s reopened pitch to replace outdated Mikoyan MiG-21s, and a contest in Colombia where Hjelm said the Brazil deal may provide a template for a winning bid. He reiterated a target of 400 to 500 Gripen orders over 15 years, or more than 10% of the available fighter market.”
SAAB expects to have an answer from the Colombian AF in late 2019 or early 2020. Although the actual interest of the AF is for twin engine multirole fighters, budget restraints -being among the largest defense expenditures in Latin America- would turn this interest towards the Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70 or SAAB’s JAS-39E “Gripen”. Jonas Hjelm also confirmed that SAAB’s assessment of the Colombian aeronautical industry allows them to “offer work-share and technology transfer to help win the order” as they did in Brazil.