DefenceIndian Air Force

Saab Open To Local Gripen Fighter Jet Production Alliance

Story Highlights
  • Saab's subsidiary Saab FFV India Pvt Ltd. will manufacture the Carl-Gustaf M4 armament system in India.
  • Saab's AT4 weapon has been picked by the Indian Armed Forces and will be employed by the Indian Army and IAF

Swedish defence company Saab is putting forward both the single-seater and twin-seater versions of its single-engine Gripen fighter jet for the Indian Air Force (IAF) tender for 114 jets. Senior company officials said on Thursday that the company is open to local partnerships after an earlier agreement with the Adani Group for a possible partnership ended in 2019.

They said that a decision would be made based on how it fit into the Make in India effort and the procurement process as the process moved forward.

In 2017, Saab signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Adani Group. This agreement ended in 2019. Mats Palmberg, chairman and managing director of Saab India, said that both sides agreed that the MoU would not be renewed.

Mr. Palmberg said that Saab has offered the IAF’s 114 Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) both the single-seater Gripen-E and the two-seater Gripen-F, which is being made with Embraer of Brazil.

Mr. Palmberg said that they would work if the timelines for making the Gripen-F and the MRFA tender were the same.

The IAF is currently looking at the different proposals sent in for the MRFA. The process has taken a long time because the IAF hasn’t yet asked the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) to approve and give the Acceptance of Necessity.

In October, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari said that the Mirage 2000s, MIG-29s, and Jaguars would be phased out by the middle of the next decade in response to questions about the number of fighter squadrons.

“We want more promises from all the OEMs (original equipment makers) to make sure that the products are made in India and have Indian parts. “That is still being worked on,” he said about the MRFA deal. Even with the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Mk1A, LCA-Mk2, and MRFA, the IAF “will still be at 35-36 [squadrons] by the middle of the next decade,” he said.

Saab has already said that it wants to make its famous Carl-Gustaf M4 weapon system in India. This will happen through Saab FFV India Pvt Ltd, a company that is owned by SAAB. Officials from the company said that different ways to set up the facility were being looked at. The plan is to start making it in 2024.

The Carl-Gustaf has been used by the Indian Army since 1976, and they have now ordered the latest M4 version. India has also ordered the AT4CS AST, which is a light, man-portable, unguided, and fully disposable weapon system that is based on the Carl-Gustaf design. “The Indian Armed Forces have chosen Saab’s AT4 weapon, which will be used by the Indian Army and the IAF,” Mr. Palmberg said.

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