Saab plans to design, produce, support & innovate under PM Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative for defence
At an event to outline Saab’s ‘Make in India’ plans, Widerström said, “We are talking about true technology transfer under Make In India. We are willing to give India comprehensive system & software control. (Saab Photo)
Stating that Saab plans to design, produce, support & innovate under PM Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative for defence, the Swedish company’s India country head and Chairman Jan Widerström told FE Online that the Saab India is eyeing deals worth multi-billion dollars.
Widerström said, “There are multiple areas that we are focusing on for India, be it fighter jets or missiles, each one of these deals would individually be worth billions of dollars.” “We are also planning to make huge investments in India for setting up manufacturing and training facilities,” he added.
At an event to outline Saab’s ‘Make in India’ plans, Widerström said, “We are talking about true technology transfer under Make In India. We are willing to give India comprehensive system & software control. To be successful we need to work hand in hand with the Indian and Sweden government.” “Our presence in India is growing, we have started to look at India as one of our home markets.”
Saab highlighted key features of its new Gripen E fighter aircraft, which was recently unveiled in Sweden. The defence major is offering to make the latest version of Gripen, the Gripen E, in India. “Fighter jets need to be able to deliver air power not only now, but 30 years from now too. Gripen was designed as an answer to stealth aircraft. Gripen E was designed to able to able to land and take-off on Swedish road bases; that’s also a focus area for India,” Saab said.
Talking about the fighter jet’s relevance for India, Saab said, “Gripen has been designed to have a life cycle cost that is the lowest in the world. Our view of Make In India is more than just about making; we plan to maintain in India. We can upgrade the Gripen every few years so that the Air Force has the latest technology.”
Saab’s ambitions and plans for India also include training people under Skill India. “We plan to set up a training centre in India. Comprehensive training of people in India will be key to our Make In India policy,” Saab said.
Asked (in a separate query) about Saab’s talks with HAL on helping develop the next generation Tejas, Widerström said, “We can contribute a lot to the next generation Tejas and are in talks with HAL on various aspects.” “We are offering to work with HAL on Tejas irrespective of whether Gripen deal happens or not,” he said on being asked whether the two deals are interlinked.
Widerström emphasised that the company hopes to create aerospace capability for the next 100 years for India. “Our Make In India plan encompasses setting up a dedicated Indian production line. We can work with India in future for stealth development; we are prepared to transfer technology,” he said.
“India is a country of the future with ambitions, Saab is a company of the future. We believe we are perfectly matched,” Saab said.