Saab Gripen book, by a fellow Saab enthusiast

I have a journey with Saab that is now well into its second decade. Mine is a 9.3 convertible bought in 2003 and garaged in Perth, Australia. It is the only car I have owned which I thought the people who made the car liked their customers as opposed to being a calculated price/features trade-off. There is one photo of the car in the public domain, taken in 2008 with a boat I had:

My Saab 9-3 Convertible

A few years later a girlfriend ran the boat onto rocks. That is a story that I can only tell if I am heavily sedated. The Saab story is far happier so I will continue with that one. As a hobby I took up climate science, in which I published books and papers predicting solar-driven cooling. As a consequence of those efforts I met some of the good and the great, including Vaclav Klaus, then President of the Czech Republic. I was also invited to give a lecture on climate science in a US Senate hearing room in 2011. That led to a role with a Washington think tank and the publication of a book on geostrategic issues entitled Twilight of Abundance.

That led in turn to an interest in defence issues. One of the biggest issues in defence is the fighter aircraft that the western world will rely upon. I am not the only analyst who finds the F-35 highly deficient. The question then is “What do we replace it with?” Happily there is a fighter aircraft available now that does not have any shortcomings at all – the Gripen E from Saab.

The Gripen E has much the same capability as the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Dassault Rafale. They are all good aircraft but the Gripen E is half the price of the other two and costs a lot less to operate. I wrote about how good the Gripen E is in a book called Australia’s Defence published in 2015. Believe it or not, the Gripen E, if armed with the right missiles, is almost as good as the F-22 which would cost three times as much if you could get one.

In late 2015, Saab sent two people to see me in Perth, Australia to discuss fighter aircraft design. One travelled from Linkoping and the other from Bangkok. They said, “We like your work Mr Archibald. You just made some small mistakes and we hope you don’t mind if we point them out.” The journey from Linkoping was 30 hours of flights and connections each way.

I told the Saab man from Bangkok that I would write a book entitled American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare. That process started with an article of the same name published online in early 2016. That article was well received and republished in a number of languages. So I persevered and the book, American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare, is now available on Amazon.

I have not been to Sweden yet but I have been to Norway a few times. In the 1990s, I used to visit friends who were stationed in Stavanger. A couple of years ago I was invited to a climate workshop on Svalbaard. I have an ongoing interest in things that affect the climate of the Scandinavian countries.

My Saab convertible is a happy car and my whole Saab story is a happy story.

11 thoughts on “Saab Gripen book, by a fellow Saab enthusiast”

  1. First of all it is really sad that such a nice boat got on the rocks, I might think that this event has created some animosity between yourself and your girl-friend.

    But now to your story; fantastic !!! I urge everyone in Europe to offer your recent book, “American Grippen” to heir defense ministers. You are so right that the F35 is a nightmare and much too expensive compared to what others in this market can offer. The Dutch did already go for the F35 but they still might change their mind, certainly when the new president start to increase import duties for foreign products.
    This would be a very good decision and to see Grippen in the air for the European defense would be lovely. I am going to order your book, David, and wish that decision makers in the different governments where the replacement of the F104 is under discussion, will do the same.

  2. Thanks for the contribution, David! Great post and nice to hear that Saab Gripen, from the small country of Sweden, can be an alternative to the aircrafts developed by much larger countries. That’s some clever Saab engineering there for sure!

  3. David, Thanks for the interesting post.

    As someone interested in the climate, you may take some comfort in considering that boat emissions are reduced when a vessel is at rest on the rocks.

    As for the fighter aircraft, what have you found to be the reality re: contracts being awarded based on product superiority vs. political considerations?

    • 3cl, The boat and convertible combination got an award from Iowahawk for the most carbon-intensive lifestyle. That was before we thought that CO2 might be a bad thing. Now it is back to being a good thing – increased crop yield in the third world etc. Re choice of fighter aircraft, it is 90% political. If you look at the countries that have the current generation of Gripen, they were simply after value for money. The primary purpose of the book is to stop the F-35 because it will leave my country poor and defenceless. The Gripen just happens to be the compelling alternative – same price as the Su-35 but the Gripen E will have a positive loss-exchange rate against the Su-35. The Gripen E is a collection of off-the-shelf subsystems in a Swedish airframe. They got the best currently available and that is one reason it is such a capable aircraft.

      • In my native country of Norway almost every politician seems genuinely concerned with our other neighbor in the East. Russia. I believe it is that fear that compels Norway to jump on the rather expensive F-35 bandwagon (much to my disappointment). USA is perceived to be our strongest ally. That our prime minister at the time is now the general secretary of NATO surely had nothing to do with the rapid choice. Corruption? Shirley, not in Norway.

        It is quite sad really. Norway could have invested in the Gripen and co-operated closely with our friend and neighbor (and close ally for centuries). Sure, we do get some kickbacks from the F-35 program (I believe Kongsberg Våpenfabrik will supply a bunch of missiles), but I would be greatly surprised if, long term, there would not be more to gain from a deal with SAAB.

        I will be on the lookout for your book. Tempted to buy now, but I am curtailing purchases of items weighing more than 100 grams until we complete the move to our new house this summer. 🙂

      • Thanks David, I’ll run my boat more often now (until the thinking cahnges again anyway). Seriously though, thanks for the comments.

  4. This has been my pet subject for a few years now because I am very interested in defense procurement as a hobby. The US Air Force relies on shooing down the enemy from a long distance using stealth and missiles rather than dogfighting. At present the Gripen holds the world record for BVR with the Meteor.

    The irony is that these 2 planes are very opposite in tactics and also purchase price and maintenance. In the past couple of months many of the years of problems have been solved as production increases on the F-35.

    Of all the countries acquiring the F-35, Israel (has begun delivery) is the only one that has its own proprietary software. All other recipients can only have updates done by America.
    The Gripen is making great inroads into budget conscious countries in SE Asia, including Saab opening offices in the Philippines, Indonesia. India could be huge as she needs about 200 single engined fighters to be built in country and only the obsolete F-16 is offered against the more advanced Gripen E.

    I will expand on my input later.

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