3rd Gripen Wing inaugurated

Today, Gripen operations started at the third wing to receive Gripen
aircraft, F21 at Luleå in the north of Sweden. Two Gripen aircraft with
F21 pilots landed at their new home and were welcomed by some 600
guests.

It is time to welcome Sweden's third Gripen Wing, F21 Luleå. F21 will be
operating two Gripen squadrons, the first including 20 aircraft ready to
operate from 2002 and a second squadron with another 20 aircraft from
2005. Already, F21 has five Gripen-aircraft at Kallax airbase and will
during this week complete its first missions.

"I am very glad that we can start to operate Gripen at Kallax Air base
after more then a year of preparations, including education of technical
support, pilot training and infrastructure", says Frank Fredriksson,
Wing Commander at F21.

Gripen is the first fourth generation fighter aircraft operational in
service today. Gripen was officially introduced into Swedish Air Force
service on 9 June 1996, where F7 Såtenäs was the first Wing to operate
Gripen with two squadrons. On 30 September 1999 the second Gripen Wing
was introduced at F10 Ängelholm with further two squadrons. And now, the
third Gripen Wing will be declared operational at F21 Luleå. The first
Gripen division at F21 will replace the AJSH 37 Viggen (reconnaissance)
division and take part in peace support operations from 2004.

204 Gripen aircraft has been ordered for the Swedish Air Force, with
deliveries due for completion in 2007. Of these, 28 will be the fully
operational and combat-capable two-seat version. By the end of 2001 Saab
had delivered 113 Gripen aircraft to the Swedish Defence Materiel
Administration (FMV) - the government agency responsible for the
procurement of the Swedish Gripen. The Swedish Air Force has flown over
25 000 missions which equals over 20 000 flying hours with Gripen.
Gripen has already been proven in international military exercises, such
as Baltic Link Partnership For Peace Exercise (PfP), and will from year
2004 take part in the Swedish Air Force rapid reaction forces for
international operations.

The first countries to order Gripen, after Sweden, is the South African
Air Force which has a requirement for 28 aircraft and the Hungarian Air
Force which has signed a lease contract with the Swedish Government for
leasing of 14 Gripen fighters. Gripen International, which is owned by
Saab AB of Sweden and the United Kingdom's BAE SYSTEMS have equal
shares, has also started negotiations with Czech Republic concerning 24
new aircraft. Other countries that are interested in Gripen are Austria,
Brazil and Poland.

Saab is one of the world's leading high-technology companies, with its
main operations focusing on defence, aviation and space. The group
covers a broad spectrum of competence and capability in systems
integration.

For further information, please contact:
Peter Larsson, Vice President Communications and Phone: +46 13 46 53 109
Public Affairs, Saab Aerospace Mobile: +46 709 89 7109

For pictures, please contact Heidi Wendt Phone: +46 13 46 53 393


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