Saab is offering to licence build the Gripen E fighter in India under the ‘Make In India’ initiative. Source: Saab
India’s Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha flew Saab’s Gripen D fighter near the company’s Linköping production plant in Sweden on 10 June at a time when the Indian Air Force (IAF) is aiming to licence build a foreign platform to augment its declining combat fleet. IAF officials said Raha’s flight was part of his official five-day trip to the northern European country to deepen bilateral cooperation in aerospace and defence.
The visit came after Jan Widerstrom, head of Saab India Technologies Private Limited, said on 19 May that the Swedish company was 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, he added.
Saab’s Gripen E offer is a reaction to Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s repeated declarations that by March 2017 the country would shortlist at least one combat aircraft for licenced production by the private sector in a bid to boost the IAF’s flagging fighter numbers.
Saab, which unsuccessfully fielded its JAS 39 variant for India’s 2007 tender for 126 medium multirole combat aircraft, has been pursuing the prospect of licence building single-engine Gripen variants in India since 2014. The company presented Parrikar with an elaborate proposal during Aero India 2015 in Bangalore, which entailed transferring the Gripen’s entire manufacturing and assembly lines to the South Asian nation.
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.
Well from the pic the Air Chief looks damn happy!
IAF chief Arup Raha flies Gripen in Sweden; Saab says opportunity to show how the fighter jet can meet India’s needs
Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Arup Raha recently flew the Gripen fighter jet during his five-day visit to Sweden.
IAF chief Arup Raha flew the Gripen D aircraft with Wing Commander (Flying) Michael Lundquist. (Image by: Capt John Lidman, Swedish Armed Forces) @financialexpress.com
Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Arup Raha recently flew the Gripen fighter jet during his five-day visit to Sweden. Gripen, a fighter aircraft manufactured by Sweden’s defence major Saab, is being offered by the company under PM Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Raha’s Sweden visit from June 7 to June 11 was intended to take the existing defence cooperation between the Armed Forces of the two countries to the next level.
Raha flew the Gripen at the Saab’s facility at Linkoping in Sweden, last week. According to PTI, Raha flew the Gripen D aircraft with Wing Commander (Flying) Michael Lundquist. He visited the flying base of the Swedish Air Force and the production facilities of SAAB at Linkoping where Gripen aircraft are manufactured.
Commenting on same, Saab told FE Online, “Saab appreciated the visit of Air Chief Marshal Raha and the opportunity to show him how Gripen can meet India’s needs for the 21st century.”
Saab has time and again offered to manufacture its Gripen fighter aircraft in India. The newly unveiled Gripen E, which is said to have improved avionics system when compared to previous versions of the jet, is also being considered under ‘Make in India’.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had recently said India will select a good fighter by the end of this fiscal year to be made domestically.
It is not yet decided which aircraft it would be, he had said adding it may be F18, Rafale, Eurofighter or Gripen. “The decision in this regard will be taken in this fiscal year,” he had asserted.
Saab is confident that it will benefit immensely by investing in India’s defence sector and has even given its thumbs up to the recently unveiled Defence Procurement Policy (DPP). “We (Saab) believe that DPP 2016 is a strong step in the right direction, towards boosting Make in India and encouraging defence manufacturing. We are looking forward to the remaining appendices now, and are confident that they will further build on this base,” Jan Widerström, Country Head and Chairman of Saab India told FE Online last month.
(With inputs from PTI)
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