At the Aero India 2017, Saab has announced a $8.5 million tie-up with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the maintenance of electronic warfare (EW) self-protection system of the Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter. Saab’s subsidiary Saab Grintek Defence (SGD) and HAL’s Avionics Division have signed the contract for Transfer of Technology (ToT) between South Africa and India. The contract will see transfer of technology for in-country maintenance of Saab’s Integrated Defensive Aids Suite (IDAS) system in India.
The IDAS has been selected as the electronic warfare self-protection system for Indian Air Force and Indian Army Aviation Corps variants of the HAL Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter. “The maintenance ToT provides for the supply and commissioning of test infrastructure at HAL Hyderabad along with documentation and training of HAL personnel in both Centurion, South Africa, and Hyderabad,” says the company’s press release. “The contract follows a long term business agreement signed by SGD and HAL in 2005, which provides for the delivery of IDAS equipment by SGD, based on annual orders. Series production of IDAS systems at SGD is currently underway with more than 200 ordered to date,” the release adds.
The programme will run for 24 months, that is 2 years, and will imply that HAL Hyderabad will qualify as a Saab-approved IDAS repair facility. HAL will focus on maintenance and repair of IDAS equipment for the Indian end-users.
Sweden’s Saab is betting aggressively on the Indian market for its defence products. The company has offered to manufacture its latest fighter jet, the Gripen E, under the government’s ‘Make in India’ programme. Saab has said that if chosen by the Indian government, it will tie-up with an Indian partner, to set up a ‘world-class’ modern ecosystem and facility in India.
This includes setting up a dedicated Gripen Design Centre, a major production facility equipped with the latest manufacturing technologies and robotics systems, a radar and sensor centre, final assembly plus test and verification centres.
The Indian Air Force needs around 200 fighter jets and has expressed interest in acquiring a single-engine multi-role combat aircraft. Under this criteria, the top runners for the programme are Lockheed Martin and Saab. Lockheed Martin is offering to make the latest version of its F-16 fighter jet in India.