The SAAF received an additional three new Gripen C fighter aircraft today.
Arriving on board the cargo vessel Artisgracht (registered in Amsterdam) yesterday, the three aircraft were offloaded in Table Bay Harbour this morning. They had been loaded onboard the vessel at the port of Norrkoping in Sweden.
The single seat aircraft, serialed 3917 to 3919, were towed the eight kilometres from the harbour to AFB Ysterplaat on the quiet weekend streets of Cape Town. They will be made ready for flight at the airforce base prior to departing for AFB Makhado in the Limpopo province.
With all nine dual-seat Gripen D aircraft already delivered, these three aircraft will join the first six Gripen Cs that were delivered in early 2010. Armscor, the South African arms procurement agency, is responsible for the delivery of the aircraft to South Africa once they have been handed over by the aircraft manufacturer, SAAB, in Sweden. Delivery of the seventeenth and final Gripen C is expected in 2012.
The original order was for nine Gripen D dual-seat and 19 Gripen C single-seat aircraft. However, the order was revised in 2005 to nine dual-seat and seventeen single-seat aircraft. The first instrumented Gripen D was delivered in April 2008 and is based at the SAAF's Test flight and Development Centre near Bredasdorp in the southern Cape. The balance of the aircraft are assigned to 2 Squadron at AFB Makhado.