Just read that the US ambassador in Prague said on the radio there that (translated from Swedish by me) “a choice of Gripen [instead of American planes] would affect Czech-American relations at both a political and a military level”.
It would also make it more difficult to integrate the Czech defense with NATO’s.
I hate enormous economic entities hogging the killing industry :(
EDIT: This seems to happen every time that plane is supposed to be sold, by the way (or leased, as is the case with the Czech Republic).
When talking about NATO integration, the issue isn’t so much the planes (although politics certainly come into play there) themselves as avionics and communication systems. Kosovo highlighted that pretty well. This includes older systems on US made jets (i.e. Canada’s FA/18 fleet).
I’m not going to deny that there was doubtless heavy lobbying involved in the selection process though.
Well, checking the Official Gripen Marketing Site…
The Swedish Air Force squadron participating in the exercise is the SWAFRAP JAS 39 Gripen squadron (Swedish Air force Rapid Reaction Unit), which is the core of the SWAFRAP force and will be assigned to participate in international operations from January 2004.
“Our participation in this NATO exercise again proves that Gripen is a fully NATO-interoperable aircraft. Not only is Gripen NATO interoperable from both the pilot’s and ground crew’s perspective, but it is also simple to maintain and turn-around. The use of access panels that require no special tools to open them and extensive Built-In-Test, and in the 39C Gripen English language markings, NATO pylons and NATO connectors ensure it is simple for Swedish and other nations ground crews to support the aircraft on the ground”, says Catharina Bergsell, Information Officer from the Swedish Air Force.
And for those wanting more (and not UR BIAS) info on the Gripen…
First off, I’m not claming anywhere that the Gripen, Rafale or other jets are bad planes. There is nothing wrong with them.
The official Windows Server 2003 marketing site promises interoperability as well. :wink: I know, not comparable but I could resist.
But anyway, what you quoted in terms of interoperability are talking about equipment standards for making sure NATO ground crews can perform simple work (i.e. refuel) on the plane. That doesn’t mean a ground crew not dedicated to that plane type can do any significant work on the aircraft (not possible with the complexity of modern jets), but if a plane does need to land at an alternate airfield, it can be refueled and possibly rearmed.
This does not address the very real issues of interforce communication during operations and the growing problem of the abilities of other member forces to integrate with the rapidly evolving and advancing US communication/command/control systems.
There is a reason the Gripen uses MILSTD 1553B for avionics intercommunications. I would also like to point out from the page you linked:
BAE Systems is working to integrate the NATO-standard “Link 16” datalink system with export Gripens, which is desired by potential customers though it isn’t as capable as the TDLS datalink used by Flygvapnet Gripens.
OK, my mom’s bf is a big military nut and he has a TON of Polish magazines that covered the decision regarding the Grippen and F-16.
Grippen was superior in almost every performance category, more suited to Polish conditions (it can be run off a highway), expected to be more reliable with a closer source of parts. It has more advanced avionics as well as weapon control systems, and is perfectly inter-operable with most western military communications equipment. Plus it was cheaper and would come with FAR more support than the French or American offerings.
The F-16 had… well… “If you don’t buy it, we won’t like you.” Not even a “If you buy it, we’ll like you”, just the former.
I seriously felt so bad for Swedish industry when the decision to purchase the F-16 was made.