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Gripen and Aerospace R&D Centers

The Future Fighter Capability Project will provide Canada with an opportunity to provide generational economic benefits, with a focus on the aerospace sector. Saab announced in March 2020 that we had teamed with leading Canadian companies such as CAE, IMP Aerospace and Defence, Peraton and GE. Together, our bid offers an unrivalled Industrial and Technological Benefits package that puts Canadian companies in a position to generate new long-term sustainable employment opportunities, in highly skilled careers and to do so in established locations as well as other areas where the investment will be most beneficial to Canada.

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Saab's President and CEO's announcement at the Aero Montreal Innovation Forum
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As part of this package Saab will establish two new aerospace centers in the Greater Montreal Region. These centers will help support a resurgent aerospace sector, building on its domestic excellence, while spurring development in new areas of research and giving the next generation of talented Canadians a career route and future.

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The first of these centers is the “Gripen Center”, which will be managed by Canadians and will host the Canadian fighter mission system. The hosting of the fighter mission system includes the ability to conduct domestic research and development for the system, along with the opportunity to perform technology upgrades in order to respond to ever-evolving threats. These capabilities will provide Canada with a fighter mission system that is not only built in Canada but can meet Canada’s domestic, NORAD and NATO obligations. In addition, the Gripen Center will also play a key role in the coordination of the sustainment of Gripen and its associated systems, including upgrades, fleet management, repairs and modifications.

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The second center to be established is the “Aerospace R&D Center” which will be co-located with the Gripen Center and be focused on developing a rich ecosystem for research and innovation, representing a key component of Saab’s long-term vision in Canada. The Aerospace R&D Center will support the development, test and production of the next generation aerospace systems and components to complement the existing Canadian aerospace industry. Areas of research could include unmanned aerial systems, Artificial Intelligence and environmentally friendly aviation technologies. These initiatives will be conducted with Canadian engineers, scientists, academia and government organisations within an innovative and collaborative environment. Sweden and Canada are a perfect match in these and in other areas. In time, new areas of research will arise that will provide further opportunities to industrialise valuable research in Canada with an eye to global export markets.

Together these two centers will effectively create an advanced aerospace micro-cluster within the greater Montreal area for advanced co-development. With this, Saab will contribute to the competiveness and expansion of the Canadian aerospace and defence industry, and sustain and add talented women and men employed in Canada. Overall, this will provide Canada with a Gripen fighter managed and controlled by Canadians, that will be secured under a proven Saab’s technology and knowledge transfer program to Canada that is unmatched by anyone.