Sweden’s Saab offers to build fighter jets in India

Saab AB, a Swedish aerospace and defence company, is interested in manufacturing as many as 96 of its Gripen fighter jets locally as part of an effort to expand its presence in the fast-growing market

January 23, 2019

A supplier to the Indian Armed Forces for over three decades, Saab will be participating in the 12th edition of Aero India to be held by Ministry of Defence at Bengaluru over February 20-24

Drawn by the promises, foreign defence and aerospace firms such as Boeing Defense, Space & Security, Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce, among others have set up manufacturing in India

Currently a major defence importer, India aims to achieve technical capabilities and economies of scale for its indigenous industry to reach a turnover of US$25 billion in military goods by 2025

India’s defence budget for financial year 2018-19 has been pegged at around US$44.5 billion - around 7.8 per cent higher than previous year - of which defence capital outlay is US$14.8 billion

Saab AB, a Swedish aerospace and defence company, is interested in manufacturing fighters jets in India, according to a report by Business Standard, citing Ola Rignell, the chief of Saab India. The company has offered to build as many as 96 of its Gripen fighter jets locally as part of an effort to expand its presence in the fast-growing market. The proposal comes at a time when the Indian Air Force is looking to acquire more than 110 combat aircrafts in a contract valued at over US$20 billion. A supplier to the Indian Armed Forces for over three decades, Saab will be participating in the 12th edition of Aero India to be held by Ministry of Defence at Bengaluru over February 20-24.

At Aero India, Saab plans to showcase its products across air-power, aircraft and surveillance systems, as well as digital air traffic management solutions. Some of Saab’s leading offerings include Gripen E and Weapon systems, Gripen Maritime, Integrated Defensive Aids Suite (IDAS), Digital Tower Management Solutions, Ground Combat Systems, Land Electronic Defence System and Next-Generation Radar systems. Saab had also partnered with Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) to co-develop and market the L-Band 3D Air Surveillance Radar, RAWL-03, a Long Range Surveillance Radar, in India. Under the partnership, two out of three subsystems have been designed and developed locally.

Last year, Saab also received a follow-on order worth over US$38.8 million from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for the IDAS-2 self-protection suite for the Indian Army’s Dhruv helicopter. The order included the IDAS-2 (Integrated Defensive Aids Suite) and the production will take place at Saab’s facility in Centurion, South Africa. Mr Rignell told Business Standard that SAAB plans to build a defence manufacturing ecosystem in India and is looking for local partner to tie up with. The Indian Air Force’s order for 110 aircraft carries provision of manufacturing in India. Saab’s Gripen is one of the proposed contenders for the order that is currently being discussed by the Government.

Drawn by the promises, foreign defence and aerospace manufacturers such as Boeing Defense, Space & Security, Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce, among others have set up R&D and manufacturing in India. Currently a major defence importer, India aims to achieve technical capabilities and economies of scale for its indigenous industry to reach a turnover of over US$25 billion in military goods and services by 2025. India’s defence budget for financial year 2018-19 has been pegged at around US$44.5 billion – around 7.8 per cent higher than previous year – of which defence capital outlay is US$14.8 billion.

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