MANILA, -- Saab is to open an office in Manila by the end of 2016 to support the company's campaign to sell its JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft to the Philippine Air Force (PAF), an official from the Swedish company told I HS Jane's on 28 September.
Speaking on the opening day of the Asian Defence and Security 2016 (ADAS 2016) exhibition in Manila, Carl-Erik Leek, Saab's executive vice-president in the Asia Pacific, said the new office would be the centre of the company's marketing activities in the country.
At present, these are undertaken from Saab's regional headquarters in Thailand, although the company does not currently have a major presence, in terms of previous defence sales, in the Philippine market.
The new office will also be supported by the Swedish government's intention, announced in December 2015, to open an embassy in Manila to support growth in bilateral trade and investment. Both Saab's office and the new embassy are expected to be operational by November.
Leek, who will head up the new Manila office, said Saab's primary target in the Philippines is the PAF's requirement - outlined in the service's modernisation programme, Flight Plan 2028 - for 12 multirole combat aircraft. "Saab can fulfil the PAF requirement for an affordable fighter aircraft," said Leek. "We think we are a strong contender."
He added that the offer would include a package of support systems, similar to the capabilities that Saab has supplied the Royal Thai Air Force, which procured 12 Gripen C/D aircraft ordered in two phases in 2008 and 2010, with deliveries completed in 2013. "[The PAF offer] will be a whole system including ground infrastructure, an integrated command-and-control system, sensors, and datalinks," he said.
In addition, Leek highlighted opportunities for Saab to meet Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) requirements for naval systems - such as combat management systems - radars and air defence.