Saab To Hold Meetings With Indian Firms To Make Gripen E Fighter Jets In India
Saab AB’s Gripen E smart fighter plane at the Aero India air show at Air Force Station, Yelahanka, in Bengaluru on Feb. 21, 2019. (Photographer: Karen Dias/Bloomberg)

Saab To Hold Meetings With Indian Firms To Make Gripen E Fighter Jets In India

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Saab AB is planning to hold meetings with Indian companies in October for making the Saab Gripen E fighter plane, a top official of the Swedish defence manufacturing firm said on Thursday.

Saab is in the fray for a contract to supply around 110 fighter planes to India under the Multi Role Fighter Aircraft programme. The Indian Air Force in April 2018 issued an initial tender, or Request for Information, for the billion-dollar procurement deal.

Saab responded to the initial tender in July 2018 with its Gripen E MRFA.

Mats Palmberg, the vice president of industrial partnerships and head of Gripen India Campaign, told that the company has undertaken surveys for aerostructure parts, such as sub-assemblies, machined parts and 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 said on sideline of India Sweden Innovation Day in Stockholm.

The upcoming meetings with Indian firms will be a follow-up of the business-to-business event that Saab held in Delhi a couple of years ago. Palmberg said Saab has been holding continuous discussions with the company's international partners and suppliers and with the Indian companies.

"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.

The company has the Saab India Tech Centre in Hyderabad, which together with Tech Mahindra Ltd. is undertaking development work for the Gripen fighter jet. Saab also has a joint company with Aequs in Belgaum, Karnataka, for sub-assemblies.

"We also have contracts with suppliers for machine and sheet metal parts. All these products are exported out of India for our commercial programs with Airbus and Boeing. We are actively working to increase and broaden sourcing from India to increase levels of volume as well as complexity," Palmberg said.

“The offer of Gripen E also consists of the most 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.” he added.

Saab claims Gripen E to be the most modern fighter jet in the world.

"The build-up of those capabilities will require substantial investments from the Indian as well as from international partners. Investments will need to be made in facilities, training, machinery, etc.," Palmberg said.

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