30 April 2017

The Little Fighter that Could

Bulgaria has selected the Gripen to replace its MiG-29's:
Bulgaria has selected the Saab Gripen as its new future fighter aircraft, the country's interim deputy prime minister reportedly announced on 26 April.

Stefan Yanev said talks will now take place with Sweden to acquire eight aircraft to replace its Warsaw Pact-era MiG-29 'Fulcrum' fighters, the Reuters news agency reported, adding that a special commission into the procurement will be set up within a week.


While not specified in the Reuters report, Saab had offered Bulgaria the C/D-variant of the Gripen, and had offered to restart the production line which had recently transitioned over the E model (some Gripen C/D work has continued as Saab prepares for an expected Slovakia contract) .

In apparently securing selection, the Gripen beat-off competition from the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, which Portugal was offering second-hand, and from the Eurofighter Typhoon, surplus models of which were being offered by Italy.
I gotta think that the lower direct operating cost, on the order of ½ that of the Typhoon, and about ⅓ less than the F-16, had a lot to do with this decision.

I also think that there may have been a preference for new, rather than 2nd hand fighters for all the wrong reasons.(i.e. national pride).


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