Sweden’s Gripen fighter is being touted by the company as a choice that is independent of political compulsions or pressures. Bob Kemp of Gripen says the aircraft has had a good year with increased sales. “We’re supplying the South African Air Force. We’re also in the campaign in India and Brazil. And we believe that Gripen offers tremendous capability to these air forces that are moving through transitional periods,” he says, adding, “But we started the process and I’m delighted to say the Royal Thai Air Force chose the Gripen last year and now we’ll hopefully move on to other campaigns in other countries.”
But he points out a distinct advantage of the Gripen fighter, saying the supply of which is independent of political issues. “The most difficult area is replacing American fighter jets. Because of the political pressure America is able to impose on people, it makes it very difficult for nations to choose an alternative,” says Kemp.
He also says the Gripen offers a viable alternative to countries that are do not wish to be compelled to align themselves with big powers. “It’s interesting — fact of life, something you may not have though about — in the export of fighter jets, 99 per cent of all exports are controlled by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. If you don’t want to be a partner of the big five, then there’s only one alternative: Sweden. And that’s why we use the tag line, ‘The Independent Choice’.”