[…] The Hungarian Air Force decided to acquire Gripens in 2003, with Czechia following in 2005. Slovakia is finally replacing their MiGs in 2018, with the decision down to the Gripen or the F-16. The F-16 is said to be more expensive. Bulgaria is in a similar situation, with the Eurofighter and F/A-18 also in consideration. Poland decided to acquire F-16s instead, probably due to their close relations with the United States. For small European countries on a budget, the Gripen makes a lot of sense. Due to the smaller area of patrol, a dual-engine design is not as necessary as it is in Finland or Canada (both of which operate F/A-18s, a dual-engine design). The lower combat range and external stores are less of an issue, as aircraft can be expected to rapidly return to their home bases to rearm.
The Gripen has relatively modern radars and navigation systems compared to the MiG and has integration with export-cleared American missiles (in the C and D “export-ready” variants) one of the largest factors for Gripen adoption is the very low flight hour cost. Gripens were rated by Jane’s to have a cost of around $4700 per flight hour. Next cheapest was the F-16 at $7000 per flight hour. Other European designs and the F/A-18 go over $10,000 per flight hour. Given that the MiG-29 has flight hour cost of around $4500 per flight hour, the Gripen is a logical choice to keep sustainment budgets from growing too much relative to past jets. Läs artikel