Swedish defence major SAAB has on Friday announced collaboration with India’s Adani Group to manufacture Gripen E fighter jets in India if selected by the government for India Air Force (IAF). The intended collaboration would encompass design, development and production of Gripen for India and other high-tech products of national importance for India and also the creation of joint ventures in India in line with and in support of the Make in India policy. With India’s focus on creating future-proof and home-grown capabilities across all industries, Saab and Adani will explore how to cooperate to develop a wider aerospace and defence ecosystem in India. A critical part of a joint roadmap would be to encourage the development of small and medium sized enterprises along with a robust national supply chain.
However, this will be contingent on the two companies, SAAB and Adani, qualifying and being shortlisted in the evaluation process. Responding to queries, Hasan Buske, president and CEO of SAAB said, “Our plan together is to create a bee defence ecosystem in India. Building new fighters are very similar to doing high technology projects in energy sector.” Announcing the collaboration, Gautam Adani, chairman Adani Group said “Today India spends billions of dollars in exporting defence weapons and equipment. We are keen to play an instrumental role in making India a place for high-class defence manufacturing. This is in line with PM Modi’s Make in India vision.”
The intended collaboration would include Gripen for India which the company will offer as the best solution for India’s single-engine fighter aircraft programme. The collaboration would also include projects, programmes and technologies of national importance to India. The announcement comes at a time when the IAF is about to initiate the process in the next few months for the selection of a single engine fighter aircraft to replace the Russian Mig-21s and Mig-27s in service under the recently promulgated Strategic Partnership (SP) model of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)-2016.