SAAB offers Next Gen Defence Capabilities to INDIA
Swedish Aerospace and Defence firm, SAAB Group on Monday said the company is willing to offer defence capabilities to enable India to manufacture and export next generation fighter jets. SAAB is set to showcase its fighter plane, the Gripen E aircraft at the Aero India 2017, a biennial aviation exhibition organised by the Ministry of Defence.
The Indian government floated an RFI last November to procure single-engine fighter aircrafts, and SAAB is among the top contenders determined to sell the Gripen E aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF). The other contender in the forefront is the F-16 fighter aircraft produced by American defence firm, Lockheed Martin.
In addition to the Gripen E, SAAB will also be showcasing 11 defence products- electronic warfare systems, ground combat systems, camouflage system, and air defence systems amongst others. The exhibition will serve as a platform for defence manufacturers and service providers to meet potential buyers. SAAB India Technologies Managing Director Jan Widerstrom said the company is looking to partner with SMEs in India.
“With the setting up of next generation capabilities for defence, India would be able to service and support their own fighters rather than rely on other countries,” while staying true to its vision of ‘Make in India’. In the aftermath of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) failing to meet expectations, the Swedish firm has also expressed interest to supply the Navy with aircrafts capable of taking off from carriers.
Laying emphasis on forging partnerships with India, Winderstrom said, “A substantial part of our latest generation fighter was done at the R&D facility in Hyderabad”. He further added that SAAB is focusing on providing a defence ecosystem for India and not just moving the production line to Karnataka. The 11th edition of the Aero India 2017 air show and exhibition will be held at Yelahanka Air Base, Bengaluru between 14-18 February.