The South African Air Force has awarded Gripen International a further R123 818 contract for interim product support for the flying service’s advanced light fighter aircraft. This is in addition to support-related expenditure on the fourth-generation fighter of R97.5 million between November 2009 and November last year.
SAAB, to whom business unit Gripen International reports, last month announced a 45 million Swedish crowns (roughly R45.1 million) contract to provide “on demand” services for the 17 months from November 1, 2010 to the end of March 2012. “On demand” services are typically maintenance repair and overhaul, engineering support services in Sweden or on-base, at Air Force Base Makhado in South Africa, SAAB said in a statement. It is not clear if the R123 818 contract forms part of the SAAB deal or not.
South Africa ordered 28 Saab Gripen C & D advanced light fighter aircraft in 1999 as part of a “strategic defence package”. The order was later trimmed to 26. The Gripen were acquired as a package with 24 BAE Systems Hawk Mk120 lead-in fighter trainers. In 2007 Treasury put the cost of the Gripen acquisition, Project Ukhozi, at R19.908 billion.
Although still not an operational system,the SAAF’s growing fleet of SAAB Gripen fighters conducted about half the 51 aircraft intercepts conducted during the June/July soccer world cup. The SAAF deployed 11 of the available 15 Gripen during the month-long tournament as well as 12 of 24 BAE Systems Hawk lead-in fighter trainers.
Air Force director combat systems Brigadier General John Bayne, praised the availability of the SAAF’s new fighter fleet during the soccer tournament at a Gripen briefing at the SAAB chalet at Africa Aerospace & Defence 2010 exhibition. The Gripen were allocated 276 flying hours and the Hawks 279. Bayne says the five two-seat Gripen D were 98% reliable and the six single-seat Gripen C 89%. The Hawk was 98% reliable. At any given time 8.95 of the 11 Gripen were available and 11.6 of the Hawk. Maintainability was 89% for Gripen and 92% for Hawk. Bayne observed that the figures for Gripen would have been higher had it been an operation system.
From the Armscor Bulletin System:
Interim product support services for the SA Air Force’s Gripen aircraft – extension of ELGS/2009/566
UKZ/S2010/0123 20 Jan 2011 R123 818,00 Gripen International
On demand support services for the South African Air Force’s Gripen fighter aircraft engines – extension of ELGS/2008/408
LGS/S2010/0120 25 Nov 2010 R10 014 851,94 Volvo Aero Corporation
Interim product support services for the SA Air Force’s Gripen aircraft
ELGS/2009/566 18 Nov 2010 R43 717 140,00 Gripen International KB
Development and testing of interface between Gripen mission support system and SAAF current intelligence system
EBEB/2010/301 18 Nov 2010 R273 162,00 SAAB Grintek Defence (Pty) Ltd
Licence agreement for the Gripen aircraft ejection seat power cartridges
EDWU/2009/79 30 Sep 2010 R2 507 898,99 Martin Baker Aircraft Co. Ltd
On demand support services for the SA Air Force Gripen aircraft – extension of ELGS/2008/333
LGS/S2010/4492 22 Sep 2010 R6 175 342,54 Gripen International KB
LGS/S2010/4435 15 Jul 2010 R3 069 337,00 Gripen International KB
LGS/S2010/4412 17 Jun 2010 R6 378 793,80 Gripen International KB
LGS/S2009/4328 22 Apr 2010 R4 501 582,53 Gripen International KB
LGS/S2009/2392 11 Feb 2010 R734 111,09 Gripen International KB
Ejection seat cartridges for Gripen dual aircraft – extension of EDWU/2009/230
DWU/S2010/0583 2 Sep 2010 R2 102 823,19 Martin Baker Aircraft Co. Ltd
On demand support services for the South African Air Force’s Gripen fighter aircraft
ELGS/2008/333 10 Dec 2009 R9 000 008,80 Gripen International KB
On demand support services for the South African Air Force’s Gripen fighter aircraft engines
ELGS/2008/408 10 Dec 2009 R9 002 182,48 Volvo Aero Corporation
Procurement of dust covers for the SAAF’s Gripen fighter aircraft
ELGS/2009/283 19 Nov 2009 R45 299,94 SAAB Grintek Defence (Pty) Ltd