Reports in Botswana and South Africa on 20 June indicate the Botswana Defence Force is to acquire 8-12 GRIPEN C/D aircraft, though earlier reports indicate the number was 16 and the order value estimated at $1.45-1.63 billion.
GRIPEN manufacturer Saab opened an office in Botswana’s capital Gaborone in 2014 and as recently as mid-May this year confirmed, “a dialogue has been opened,” regarding the potential acquisition of 8-12 GRIPENs. In recent months there has been informed comment that the BDF is also seeking up to 12 K2 BLACK PANTHER tanks from South Korea, a further 45 General Dynamics Land Systems PIRANHA 8x8 armoured vehicles and that negotiations are under way with MBDA for MISTRAL and MICA-ML air defence systems.
In addition, a Korean delegation visited Gaborone late last year to discuss the possible acquisition of up to 16 Korean Aerospace Industries T-50 advanced jet trainer aircraft. The BDF currently flies 14 F-5A fighters and F-5D trainers acquired from Canada in 1998 but has focused considerable effort on planning to replace these aircraft over the last two years.