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On 1 October, the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) submitted a proposal for the GRIPEN fighter to the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence. The Swedish offer consists of eight new fully NATO-interoperable GRIPEN C/D fighters to equip the Bulgarian Air Force.

The proposed aircraft would be in the latest MS20 configuration, which can be delivered to the Bulgarian Air Force within a short time period: the first aircraft within 24 months of contract signature. Training of pilots and technicians is included and with the offer a full quick reaction alert capability will be achieved within the budget framework.

The GRIPEN C/D is a proven system, in operational service with the air forces of the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa, Sweden and Thailand. The UK Empire Test Pilots’ School uses GRIPEN as its fast jet platform for test pilots from all over the world. Czech and Hungarian GRIPENs successfully participate in NATO missions and joint exercises with other NATO countries. The development of the GRIPEN C/D is on-going and the system will remain operational for at least another 30 years.

GRIPEN is an advanced multirole fighter at the start of its development life time. The Swedish offer meets the requirements of the Bulgarian government regarding budget, delivery schedule and capabilities of the new aircraft,” commented FMV Director Export and International Relations, Joakim Wallin.

When Bulgaria selects GRIPEN, Saab and Sweden are ready to co-operate with the Bulgarian defence industry in areas such as aircraft maintenance, transferring important know-how to the country that would help to sustain and create skilled jobs,” added Senior Vice President and head of Saab business area Aeronautics, Jonas Hjelm.

Relations between Sweden and Bulgaria are excellent. The economic cooperation is sizeable, with a growth in bilateral trade and increasing investments by Swedish companies in Bulgaria, which are currently employing close to 9,000 people in Bulgaria,” observed Swedish Ambassador to Bulgaria, Louise Bergholm.

The GRIPEN in its latest MS20 configuration, as offered to the Bulgarian Air Force. (Photo: Saab)

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