LINKOPING, Sweden, April 2 (UPI) -- Sweden's Saab, which hopes to sell 22 Gripen E fighters to Switzerland, is looking for Swiss manufacturing partners.
"We are currently in discussions with Swiss companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises, throughout all regions of Switzerland that can be involved in this major project," said Lennart Sindahl, head of Saab's Aeronautics business area.
"We are looking for companies with advanced skills and strong competitiveness that can be our partners for the long-term and to quickly seal their involvement in the program."
The main areas of focus for the Swiss industry would be the development, production and assembly of the Gripen E rear fuselage, weapon station pylons, the Gripen E tail cone, air brakes and external fuel "drop" tanks.
Of the work performed in Switzerland, more than 35 percent would be conducted in the country's French- and Italian-speaking regions.
Saab said the initiative is part of its Swiss Industrial Participation program.
The company said Swiss participation would not be limited to production of Gripen E aircraft now ordered by Sweden and those that might be ordered by Switzerland but would apply to future orders from other countries.