Sweden's Saab remains committed to its offer of leasing the Malaysian government its JAS 39 Gripen C/D multirole fighter in a bid to kick-start the country's stalled multirole combat aircraft (MRCA) programme, Thomas Linden, head of Saab Malaysia, said on 19 April.
Speaking at the Defence Services Asia (DSA) exhibition, Linden outlined the lease package being offered to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) to meet its stated requirement to replace its ageing fleet of Russian MiG-29N 'Fulcrum-A' fighters, which were originally scheduled to be retired by late 2010.
The MRCA programme has been delayed continually in recent years due to economic constraints in Malaysia but Linden said the Gripen lease programme provides an affordable method to procurement. The Malaysian lease proposal features the supply of new aircraft, he also confirmed.
"Our basic offer is a lease solution using examples where we have leased the Gripen to the Czech Republic and Hungary," he said. "The lease solution for Malaysia would work very similar to a purchase. There is no limit in the operation, you can use any weapons or systems, and we will build a local support solution here in Malaysia with our local partners. This programme is fully endorsed by the Swedish government."
He added, "When we lease the aircraft we will guarantee flight hours. So we will say that if you lease this aircraft from us you will get 'X hundred' flight hours per aircraft per year. And if we can't deliver that it's on us. What we are pricing in the lease are the capital costs that we have with the aircraft and also the support and related solutions."
Linden said that the Malaysian government's response to Saab's leasing proposal for the Gripen has been "positive", although he added, "Whether or not Malaysia will go with this or whether they will go another way, we don't know that yet."