How does the T-7A cost compare to the Gripen? 19 million versus 30 million, optimistically?
I was actually thinking of something like the AMX. A Leonardo-Embraer program might be successful.
The Gripen is only cheap in terms of hourly operating cost. The purchase price is similar to a medium sized fighter.
Estimates have the Gripen E around $80 million fly away. With some posts as high as $100 million. It is the Gripen C sales of used and refurbished aircraft that make people think it is cheap.
The Super Hornet, Block 70 F-16, F-35A and Saab Gripen are all approximately the same purchase price. The Gripen has the lowest hourly operating cost and the F-35A is highest because it is stealth and also the most capable. The Gripen will be then be the cheapest to operate for 20 years.
An armed T-7 will have low operating costs but also a low purchase price. The Boeing T-7 trainer version has a flyaway price around $25 million. I expect an armed version with AESA to be around $40 million or half the purchase price of the Gripen.
The armed T-7 should have an even lower hourly operating cost than the Gripen due to its more modern and slightly lighter design.
Even if Boeing goes all out and makes the T-7 a single seat with EODAS, AESA and installs a F414 engine it should still be under $50 million.