This article first appeared in Aerospace Daily & Defense Report.
The South Africa Air Force (SAAF) has taken delivery of the first four of 26 Gripen NG advanced fighter aircraft ordered at the biennial Africa Aerospace and Defense show in Cape Town, South Africa.
[Av Week Online Editor Sean Meade corrects: South Africa has accepted the first four fighters under an order for 26 Gripen C/Ds. An Aerospace Daily & Defense Report article Sept. 30 incorrectly identified the type of those four Gripens. (thanks DT reader Logan Hartke for the catch!)]
Nine of the fighters are two-seaters and 17 single-seaters. Deliveries are scheduled through 2012.
Currently the fighters are said to be armed with only a 27mm Mauser cannon. The short-range IRIS-T air-to-air missile is on order from Diehl BGT and additional weapons are under development. The first class of six instructors are now in training at Makhado.
Denel SAAB Aerostructures (DSA) has delivered 220 pylons for Gripen aircraft, with 80 more contracted. The South African company is set to receive another follow-on contract to make 80 more pylons through a modified design, bringing the total to 380.
Modification kits for the earlier pylons will also be produced under a separate contract. SAAB predicts there will be further requirements for pylons until 2013, implying further work for DSA, according to a trade magazine.
In addition to the pylon contracts, DSA has longstanding contracts for the manufacture of the Gripen main landing gear and the rear fuselage sections, for both the Swedish air force and all export customers. These contracts form part of SAABs Defense Industrial Participation Program for South Africa.
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