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While Gripen’s unique capabilities as a multi-role fighter were a decisive factor in South Africa’s selection of the aircraft, so too was Saab’s creative and entrepreneurial approach to delivering sustainable economic benefits by stimulating the country’s aerospace, defence and, most importantly, a wide array of civil industries.

Tailored for growth

Saab’s industrial participation was tailored to boost South African trade and investments in its manufacturing base.  Saab’s involvement in various business projects was based on normal commercial requirements.  This resulted in increased investments in the local civil, aeronautics and defence industries.  In turn, these stimulated additional export and domestic sales of South African manufactured and processed goods.

South African-developed technology onboard Gripen

South African input into the evolution of the Gripen as an ever more sophisticated platform has been considerable. Nearly every aspect of aircraft functionality has been tailored to meet a long list of South African Air Force (SAAF) requirements. This includes the radar, weapons, electronic warfare gear, navigation fit, communications systems, datalink, mission planning computers, even the ejection seats. South Africa has had access and input to the Gripen at every level.

As a result, all Gripens – not just the aircraft for the SAAF – have the potential to adopt and integrate improved systems designed in South Africa. South Africa itself is leading the field in adopting sophisticated mission systems such as the helmet-mounted display, for which the SAAF is the first Gripen customer.

Ahead and above target

The offset target for the Gripen contract amounts to several billion US dollars.  By 2010, i.e. two years ahead of schedule, our portfolio of industrial participation initiatives has delivered growth and economic benefits worth more than double the value of the contract. 

South African Gripen over the Union Buildings, Pretoria, South Africa

Image: South African Gripen over the Union Buildings, Pretoria, South Africa. Photo: Frans Dely.

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