STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- Saab AB has offered to sell 85 JAS Gripen fighter jets to the Netherlands, going head to head with Lockheed Martin Corp. for the lucrative deal of replacing the country's aging F16 fleet, the Swedish aerospace and defense company said Monday.
Saab said it has responded to an open request by the Dutch Ministry of Defense by offering to sell 85 Next Generation Gripen fighters. The offer also includes training, spares, simulators and support.
The Netherlands has already requested an offer from Lockheed Martin for the Joint Strike Fighter and is deeply involved in the production and support phase of building that fighter jet.
However, Saab spokeswoman Linn Lichtermann said the country later requested offers from Saab and the manufacturers of French fighter Rafale and the Eurofighter. The two other companies have not yet responded to the request.
The Dutch request follows similar moves by NATO peers Norway and Denmark, who have both requested information about other aircraft despite being involved in the Joint Strike Fighter program.
Saab said it is prepared to offer cooperation for industry in the Netherlands corresponding to at least 100 percent of the total value of a possible contract.
The Dutch Defense Ministry is expected to decide by 2010 how to replace its current generation of F-16 fighters.
Sweden has previously sold Gripen fighter jets to the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa and Thailand.