World News

Sweden’s SAAB seeks to gain more sales of the Gripen multirole fighter in Southeast Asia, having previously sold one to Thailand. There are two significant potential in the region: Thailand’s follow-on order and the Philippines’ need for fighter aircraft. According to defence website Ainonline, a Gripen C from the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) is on exhibit in the Singapore Air Show’s static park.

After placing an order for the type in 2008, Thailand began receiving its first batch of six Gripen C/Ds in February 2011. In 2013, SAAB sent a second anticipated batch to finish equipping 701 Squadron in Surat Thani. The aircraft work with two SAAB 340 airborne early warning systems and are primarily used for defence purposes.

The RTAF is still to choose if it will select the Gripen C/D or E/F or look for new or used aircraft. This year sees the release of an Airpower White Paper, which should provide further details on the requirement.

In the Philippines, SAAB is awaiting further information about the country’s new fighter demand from the next administration. Twelve fighters were initially needed, and SAAB’s bid was based on the Gripen C/D. It provided that version due to the Philippine Air Force’s need for quick delivery in addition to financial considerations. That need was essentially dropped by the new government, which may now be searching for 36 additional aircraft. After the requirements are clear, it will draft a fresh bid. Similar to Thailand, the

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