SAAB ties up with Adani group to manufacture Gripen in India

Gripen fighter aircraft. (File Photo)   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

As the Indian Air Force (IAF) gears up to issue a multibillion dollar tender for over a 100 single engine fighter jets, the Adani group on Friday announced a collaboration with Swedish defence major SAAB to manufacture Gripen fighter jets in India, if selected.

“Our plans in India are to create a new defence eco system that would involve many partners, vendors and suppliers… Building new fighters is very similar to doing high technology projects in energy sector,” said Hakan Buskhe, President and CEO of SAAB.

However, the partnership would be contingent upon Adani being shortlisted in the evaluation process.

Job generation

Announcing the collaboration, Gautam Adani, Chairman, Adani Group, said the partnership in “aerospace and defence sectors will help establish new production lines in India, generate employment and build sustainable skills.”

Sweetening the offer on the Gripen, Mr. Buskhe said SAAB would do complete technology transfer including the “source codes” to India.

So far, Adani has no presence in the defence sector and no experience in the manufacturing space either. However SAAB and Adani officials drew attention to the latter’s experience in industrial engineering, system integration and mega project execution capabilities.

SP model

IAF is expected to begin the process in the next few months for a single engine fighter aircraft to replace the Russian Mig-21s and Mig-27s in service. The procurement would be under the recently promulgated Strategic Partnership (SP) model of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP). The deal for 100 plus fighter aircraft is estimated to be worth over ₹60,000 crore.

Recently, U.S. aircraft major Lockheed Martin, the other contender in the race, signed an agreement with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) to produce the F-16 Block 70 fighter aircraft in India.

In anticipation of the tender, the two foreign OEMs have mounted an aggressive pitch with offers of extensive technology transfer, exporting from the assembly line in India and creating thousands of skilled jobs locally.

Fighter strength

The IAF is in urgent need of new aircraft to augment itself its falling fighter strength. In contrast to a sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons, it presently has 33 squadrons. In the next five years, about 11 squadrons of MiG-21s and MiG-27s are to be phased out from service.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 10:22:20 PM |

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