Can an aircraft help an entire industry take off?

Major industrial development projects cost a lot of money and it is very easy to focus entirely on the cost. But this is not the true picture, there is also an important revenue aspect.

According to Gunnar Eliasson, economist and professor emeritus in industrial dynamics at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, the type of advanced development and production taking place here at Saab often results in the creation of technology "clouds". Technology which then spreads and can be used to benefit other industrial sectors.

In his study, Gunnar Eliasson uses Gripen as an example. The result may have surprised some. It showed that the original investment in research and development for the Gripen project has been repaid to society at least 2.6 times over. This has taken the form of civil production, spin-offs plus the civil and military exports that have been made possible using Gripen technology.

The development of one of the world's most advanced aircraft systems is a powerful driver of technology that has created a continuous flow of spillover effects for Swedish industry. In this way, it has contributed to Sweden's position as a leading high-tech industrial nation.

In other words, the funds invested in the development of the Gripen system have benefited the whole of society. It is an investment on which Sweden has received a good rate of return.