Saab said last week it has signed Memorandums of Understanding regarding industrial cooperation with Rheinmetall Schweiz AG and Pilatus Aircraft, with both agreements connected to a possible Swiss acquisition of the Gripen fighter aircraft.

“Switzerland is yet another example of the strong interest for Gripen worldwide,” Ake Svensson, Sabb’s CEO, said in a statement.

Last week, Saab submitted a Gripen proposal to Switzerland’s department for procurement of technologically complex systems and defense technology in Berne.

“Our proposal meets all the requirements put forward,” Svensson said. “The Gripen proposal offers Switzerland the most cost-effective and proportionate replacement for the F- 5E/F and, moreover, a perfect force fit with existing F/A-18 C/D,” he added.

The proposal is a response to the Request for Proposal (RFP), which the Swiss issued Jan. 7, 2008. Switzerland has a need to replace its fighter aircraft F-5E/F Tiger and Gripen is one of three potential suppliers. Dassault’s Rafale and EADS’ Eurofighter Typhoon are also in the running.

The exact number of required aircraft has not been disclosed by the Swiss. The proposal also features long-term viable industrial co-operation at 100 per cent of the contract value, Svensson said.

The agreement between Saab and Pilatus regards future cooperation in the aviation area and is the result of discussions initiated as part of industrial cooperation activities in the event Switzerland should decide to buy Gripen fighter aircraft to replace its F-5E/F Tiger.

“Saab and Pilatus are two world leading companies in aircraft manufacturing,” Svensson added. “This MoU could lead to further cooperation in the future between Gripen and the training aircraft PC-21,” he added.

The agreement opens up for increased cooperation and possible joint programs in several technology areas, such as design and manufacturing of aircraft components, development of composite structures, systems integration and software development for both military and civil aircraft types.

Saab and Rheinmetall have agreed to evaluate a number of areas of potential industrial cooperation within defense and civil security, Svensson said.

“Rheinmetall will become one of the key partners with the right competence to support Saab to carry out offset obligations within a Gripen contract for Switzerland,” Svensson added.