Sweden's Saab Offers Gripen C/D Fighter Jet Leasing Packages to the Philippines

Sweden's Saab Offers Gripen C/D Fighter Jet Leasing Packages to the Philippines

Apparently there is no word of surrender for Saab to offer Gripen fighter jets to the Philippines. Flashback to 2018, the Philippine Ministry of Defense expressed interest in acquiring Gripen C/D from the Swedish manufacturer. 

However, the offer from the United States with the F-16 Viper package, had made Manila "hesitating" to make a decision.

Over time, coupled with the pressure of the Philippines' depleting defense budget, especially the impact of the pandemic, made the Multi-Role Fighter (MRF) program for the Philippine Air Force seem to be in suspended animation. 

Even though in 2018, the procurement of Gripen has been budgeted at US$5.46 billion, with the target of being able to fulfill the formation of two combat squadrons.

And seeing the condition of the Philippines which continues to be plagued by budget problems, prompted Saab to offer the Gripen to the Philippines on a leasing model, as has been done so far by the Czechs and Hungarians, who leased Gripen C/D fighter jets from Sweden.

This offer is none other than to make it easier for the Philippines to acquire fighter jets with a much lower budget.

Even though there is a leasing offer for Gripen, the Philippine Government is not certain to take up this option. Instead, Manila will look to find the funds needed for the project. 

This can be done through non-programmed funding for Fiscal Year 2023, which can be used to generate 15 percent of seed funding for a project that will allow the purchase of 12 Gripen C (single seat) and 2 Gripen D (tandem seat) units, the IRIS-T missile, Meteor BVRAAM missile, and RBS-15F anti-ship missile.

Prior to offering Gripen by leasing to the Philippines, Sweden has first offered Gripen leasing to Malaysia in 2021. The leasing package offered to Malaysia includes 24 Gripen C/D units plus two GlobalEye units, an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.

While there are leasing offers for Gripen C/D, the F-16 Block 70 Viper remains the choice of the Philippines. Referring to the release of the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DCSA), an agency under the US Department of Defense, which was issued on June 24, 2021, it was stated that the US Government had approved the potential sale of the F-16 Viper fleet to the Philippines using the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) scheme.

The sales value offered in the DCSA document reached US$2.43 billion, with the main details obtained being 10 F-16C Vipers (single seat) and 2 F-16D Vipers (tandem seats). The purchase package includes 15 F100-PW-229EEP or F110-GE-129D engines, of which 3 are intended as spares.

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