September 13, 2013
A top executive at Saab sought to deflect speculation Sept. 12 that its Gripen fighter would be offered for the U.S. Air Force’s T-X future trainer requirement.
“With the new development of the Gripen E version we expect it to remain in that position for many years to come. But a great fighter aircraft does not necessarily make a good trainer. We remain focused on the continued development of the Gripen E and the fighter will never be a trainer,” said Lennart Sindahl, Saab’s executive vice president and head of Saab’s Business Area Aeronautics, in an emailed statement to Aviation Week.
“As we stated previously, Saab always keeps its doors open to new business opportunities, and if any of those should be further realized, they would be announced at the appropriate time.”
On Sept. 11, Aviation Week reported that Boeing and Saab planned to announce “in weeks rather than months” that the two companies would together offer the JAS 39 Gripen for T-X, citing sources familiar with the deal. (Aerospace DAILY, Sept. 12).
Neither Boeing nor Saab has denied that they would join forces to vie for the contract to replace the Northrop Grumman T-38 with about 350 new trainers. But the companies have not confirmed they are working together either.
“Boeing is evaluating U.S. Air Force T-X requirements and continuing with our effort to develop a new, purpose-built aircraft that will provide the most affordable and effective solution to the Air Force’s advanced flight training needs. We have conducted extensive studies of both new and existing platforms as well as many industry teaming approaches. Any teaming relationship will be announced at the appropriate time,” says Boeing’s statement. “We are in discussions with many companies at any given time on a number of matters. As it says in our statement, any teaming relationship we may enter into will be announced at an appropriate time.”