India’s Defence Ecosytem Gets A Boost: Sweden’s Saab To Meet With Indian Companies To Manufacture Gripen E Aircraft

SAAB Gripen Fighter Aircraft (Tuomo Salonen/Wikimedia Commons)

Swedish defence company Saab is planning to hold meetings with Indian companies in October to develop the ecosystem in India for making its Gripen fighter aircraft locally, reports Economic Times.

Saab is among the global defence manufacturers eyeing the contract to supply 110 fighter jets to Indian Air Force (IAF) under the Multi Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) programme.

In April 2018, the IAF issued an initial tender or Request for Information (RFI) for the MRFA deal. Saab responded to the RFI in July 2018 with its Gripen E fighter aircraft.

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According to the report, Saab’s vice-president (Industrial Partnerships) Mats Palmberg said that the company has conducted surveys for aerostructures parts, such as sub-assemblies, machined as well as sheet metal parts.

"The industry evaluation tour will take place for 10 days in mid-October. A dozen Indian SMEs suitable for systems manufacturing will be met...by a team consisting of different Saab companies, international system suppliers headed by members of the Gripen for India team, " Palmberg, who is also the head of Gripen India campaign, said on the sideline of India Sweden Innovation Day.

Saab has been holding continuous discussions with the company’s international partners and suppliers as well as with the Indian companies, Palmberg said.

"Some discussions have resulted in MoUs with a mutual intention to work together on a broader basis in defence and also in the execution phase of the Gripen E program in India," he said.

Pitching the Gripen E for IAF, Palmberg said that that the apart from the fighter jet, the company has also offered “comprehensive transfer of capability packages focused on building indigenous capabilities to design, develop, produce and maintain a modern state of the art fighter system platform,”

The build-up of those capabilities will require substantial investments from the Indian as well as from international partners, Palmberg said.

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