Botswana is in talks with Sweden regarding the purchase of eight Gripen fighter jets from Saab, according to the country’s defence materiel agency.
Sweden’s defence materiel agency (FMV) told SIX News that it is in talks with Botswana on the aircraft, with Linda Bengtsson, acting press officer at the FMV saying on 13 May that “I can confirm that we have initiated a dialogue and that these are regarding, approximately, eight C/D version aircraft.”
The BDF has also expressed interest in the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer. A Korean delegation met Botswanan defence minister Ramadeluka Seretse and other BDF officials in November to discuss the T-50 and FA-50 models in November 2013, with talk of Botswana acquiring 16 T-50s.
In October 2015, President Ian Khama visited South Korea and a KAI headquarters. Apparently, Botswana will decide later this year which new combat aircraft it will be buying.
In February a Brazilian delegation visited Botswana and presented the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano light attack and trainer aircraft, according to Botswana’s Business Weekly.
The Botswana Defence Force currently flies 14 F-5A fighter jets and F-5D trainers it bought from Canada in 1996 but now wants to replace these ageing aircraft.
Earlier reports suggested Botswana may acquire 16 Gripen Es. Saab hopes to sell between 300 and 450 Gripen C/D/E aircraft over the next 20 years for a 10% share of the global market. According to Saab, apart from being a highly capable aircraft, the Gripen’s chief selling point is its affordability, in terms of development, acquisition, operation, and through-life sustainment, which makes it ideal for countries like Botswana and South Africa.
Saab in 2014 opened an office in Botswana’s capital Gaborone as it expands its presence on the African continent. Botswana was the third African country with a Saab office after South Africa and Kenya. The group sees big opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa.