Saab is ready to invest in setting up manufacturing and training facilities for fighter jets and missiles in India.
Saab is buoyed by the recent visit of India's Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha at the company's Linköping production plant in Sweden on 10 June this year. Raha, during his visit, flew a Gripen D fighter at a time when the Indian Air Force (IAF) is aiming to license build a foreign platform to counter its declining combat fleet.
“There are multiple areas that we are focusing on for India, be it fighter jets or missiles, each one of these deals would individually be worth billions of dollars. We are also planning to make huge investments in India for setting up manufacturing and training facilities,” India country head and Chairman Jan Widerström was quoted as saying by Financial Express Wednesday.
Talking about the fighter jet’s relevance for India, Saab said, “Gripen has been designed to have a life cycle cost that is the lowest in the world. Our view of Make In India is more than just about making; we plan to maintain in India. We can upgrade the Gripen every few years so that the Air Force has the latest technology.”
“Saab is offering the next generation Gripen E to India under the 'Make In India' initiative with transfer of technology. The exact configuration (of the fighter), however, would depend on further discussions," Widerstrom had said in May this year.
Saab also offered to provide India's state-run Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) assistance with the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mk II, which is being developed for the Indian Navy (IN). The aircraft would be powered by General Electric GE F414 engines just like the Gripen E.
Saab is also offering to help the ADA resolve technical problems it is encountering with the locally developed Tejas LCA Mk I, which is fitted with F404-GE-IN20 engines, similar to Gripen's JAS-39 model.