Now It’s Only Gripen Versus F-35 in Denmark, Norway
Eurofighter has withdrawn the Typhoon from competitions for a new combat aircraft to replace F-16s in Denmark and Norway. Both countries are partners in the U.S.-led Lightning (Joint Strike Fighter) program but are considering alternatives before committing to production F-35s. The European consortium was particularly hopeful of dislodging Norway from the F-35 program and promised the country more than $7 billion worth of industrial participation in return for a Typhoon order. Earlier, Eurofighter awarded development contracts worth $50 million to Norwegian industry. Now the Danes and Norwegians have only the enhanced Saab Gripen to evaluate against the F-35. (Details of Saab’s development program, including a new engine and radar, and structural changes to boost weapons carriage and range, can be found in AIN’s Farnborough Show editions from last year. Click here to read.) That program was confirmed in October when Saab received a $94 million contract from the Swedish government. The Gripen team has offered Norway $25 million of this work. The two Nordic countries will probably decide this year, once the cost and schedule of the F-35 program becomes clear.