Friday, June 17, 2016

Former CF-5s in Bostwana being Replaced by SAAB Gripens

David Pugliese, Defence Watch

The former CF-5 jets that Canada sold to Botswana will be replaced by Gripens.

A former RCAF CF-5 "Freedom Fighter" at its current airfield in Botswana. 
The CF-5s were removed from service in June 1995, shortly after the Canadian Forces pumped $79 million into upgrading some of them. Botswana purchased 16 of the aircraft as well as a supply of spare parts. Another 57 of the planes were sent to museums or to Canadian Forces bases for use as training aids.

My Defense News colleague Oscar Nkala is now reporting that the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) has confirmed negotiations with Swedish aircraft manufacturer F√∂rsvarets Materielverk are underway for the acquisition of between eight and 12 JAS Gripen “C” and “D” aircraft.

Botswana looked at the purchase of F-16s, Russian as well as Chinese jets.

The Gripen had the lowest operating cost, said BDF commander Lt. Gen. Gaolathe Galebotswe. “The Gripen fits our requirements and could give us a certain edge over our competitors,” he explained. “F-5s have become unsustainable for the BDF. We needed something that is cost-effective but still capable of carrying out our aerial defense mandate because we should have the capability to operate in both contested and uncontested space.”

The cost of the possible contract is estimated at US $1.7 billion, Defense News reported.

Oscar’s article can be read here: