I det seneste år har ordene “joint strike fighter” indgået i 25 artikler i Berlingske Tidende, Politiken og Jyllands-Posten til sammen. I samme periode har jeg skrevet mere end 30 indlæg om det kommende indkøb af nye jagerfly til det danske flyvevåben. Den største beslutning – efter en mulig skattereform – i den kommende folketingssamling, og som kan blive et ret vigtigt pejlemærke for hvilken rolle politikerne mener Danmarks forsvar skal spille de næste 25 år eller mere. Og for vores forhold til vores allierede. Vælger vi at gå med USA og vælge Joint Strike Fighteren, vælger vi den svenske Gripen-jager eller den ældre, men gennemtestede F-18 fra amerikanske Boeing? Underligt nok ikke noget aviserne synes fortjener videre omtale – stik modsat situationen i Norge, hvor der skrives spalter op og spalter ned op til nordmændene forventes at træffe en beslutning kort før jul i år.

Det kom derfor ikke synderligt bag på mig, at Gripens opsigtsvækkende tilbud om 180 procents modkøb til nordmændene, ikke løb over til de danske medier, der passende kunne have spurgt om et lignende tilbud gælder hvis Danmark vælger Gripen. Så derfor tog jeg sagen i egen hånd og sendte en håndfuld spørgsmål afsted til svenskerne.

Spørgsmål, svar og min kommentar dertil kommer her:

AK: You have announced that you in relation to the Norwegian fighter jet purchase will be able to increase your commitment, regarding industrial collaboration projects, to at least 180 percent of the offset value over a period of 10 to 15 years. Does the same apply to the Danish competition? And why / why not?

G: We are, as opposed to for example Lockheed-Martin, required to guarantee “more than 100 percent offset” according to Danish law.
More and more companies are joining the industrial network GripenDKteam every month and the actual offset figure promised could be significantly higher at time of contract signature.

Svaret viser tydeligt at Gripen satser på at blødgøre de danske politikerknæ ved hjælp af en fast pris per fly og et modkøbsprogram, der går lnagt ud over det påkrævede – og dermed garanterer at dansk forsvarsindustri får konkrete ordrer. Noget, der ved aftalernes indgåelse ofte er usikkerhed om.

AK: What is Gripen’s primary advantage compared to the other two contenders?

G: Gripen Next Generation is a true multi-role fighter. Compared to the JSF Gripen is much more maneuverable and flexible in its multi-role capabilities (very useful in for example air to air combat). Gripen Next generation is therefore more suited for the defense of the national airspace. Gripen Next Generation is also more likely to maintain its operational dominance in the years to come, because the airframe has not been locked to the stealth-design, which runs a risk of becoming obsolete when development of sensor technology catches up with the stealth technology.
The costs of operating and maintaining the aircraft are considerably lower – resulting in lower life cycle costs throughout the 30+ years of expected time in service with the Danish Air Force.

Gripen tager konkurrentens stærkeste kort, stealth-teknologien, og vender til noget negativt. Klogt træk. Samtidig slår man på flyets evner ud i luftkamp og suverænitetshåndhævelse. Noget, der betyder meget i Norge, hvor russerne ofte udfordrer grænserne i luften – men som også kan få en vis betydning i en dansk sammenhæng, hvis vi tænker 20-25 år ud i tiden.

AK: Is Gripen Next Generation a 4th or a 5th generation fighter in your perspective? And why?

G: There is no formal agreed definition of the 5th generation fighter, but the 5th generation terminology has been invented and trademarked by Lockheed Martin. As the internationally renowned fighter expert Bill Sweetman says: JSF only has stealth as a unique selling point and this capability is only one way of achieving ‘survivability’. In other words: JSF calls itself ‘fifth generation’ solely because of stealth. Saab doesn’t accept the distinction because the stealth-design causes limitations to other vital capabilities of the fighter. JSF is less maneuverable, slower, has a shorter range and a much larger fuel consumption than the Gripen NG.

Igen vender man konkurrentens styrker til sin egen fordel. Ham Bill Sweetman vender vi tilbage til i et kommende indlæg.

AK: You have earlier announced a fixed price of 452 mio. Danish kroner for each aircraft. Is that still the case? Is it life cycle costs? And does it apply no matter if we buy 24, 36 or 48 planes?

G: We have said that 48 Gripen Next Generation fighters can be procured for less than 22 billion DKK in an all inclusive package including among other things: mission support-systems, comprehensive training and logistic support. Regarding life cycle cost, Gripen Next Generation is estimated to cost approximately half of JSF when comparing it to the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s calculations.

Usikkerheden omkring den endelige pris er uden tvivl JSF’erens svageste punkt i en norsk og en dansk sammenhæng. Så Gripens 22 mia. alt inklusiv vil sikkert få adskillige forsvarspolitikere til at sove tryggere om natten – specielt efter den seneste EH-101 indkøbsskandale.

AK: What do you think of the fact, that one of your competitors does not have to meet the same demands regarding industrial collaboration?

G: We are well aware of this and choose to see this as an advantage for us. With Gripen Next Generation Danish industry is guaranteed a partnership worth at least the value of the aircraft contract and the transfer of advanced technology without restrictions, which will give Danish companies great opportunities in the future to compete on the world market with for example avionics and aircraft components.

Det diplomatiske svar, hvor man understreger at med Gripen er der garanti for at der også kommer ordrer i sidste ende.

AK: What do you think of the Danish competition so far? Has it been fair?

G: We are confident that Danish decision makers will in the end choose the fighter which fulfills all the requirements of the Danish Air Force and is most suitable for Denmark in all aspects.

Umiddelbart logisk svar, men mon ikke den Eurofighter-repræsentant som man ser i den norske dokumentarfilm, havde leveret et mere spydigt svar, hvis man havde spurgt ham i dagene op til at Eurofighter trak sig fra både den norske og danske konkurrence?

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