Saab Plans to Have Tier 1, 2, 3 Partners in Gripen India Programme
Should Saab secure the contract from the Indian Air Force (IAF) for 114 multi-role fighters, the company will be ready to work with and involve hundreds of Tier 1, 2, and 3 partners, vendors and suppliers, says Ola Rignell, Chairman and Managing Director, Saab India to Geopolitics.
Saab's plans are not limited to just selling defence products but include creating an industrial defence eco-system which would enable Indian companies to develop next-generation platforms. This will be made possible through a close working partnership between Sweden, Saab and its global supply chain, and the Indian suppliers.
"A close partnership between Sweden and India will lead to the creation of a large number of high-tech jobs in manufacturing, and increase avenues for education in defence engineering through collaboration between Indian and Swedish universities, including exposure to the Saab production concept and way of working," says Ola.
Saab has an impeccable record of successfully transferring critical knowledge to partner countries. In Brazil, Saab is working with its partners like Embraer, Akaer, and AEL Sistemas. The Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN) in Brazil is the main center for the development of Gripen fighters in the country. Another example of Saab’s successful technology transfer programs includes Saab Grintek Defence (SGD) in South Africa that focusses on developing expertise in the area of electronic warfare and avionics.
Saab offers India long-term strategic cooperation that includes training, transfer of the know-how capability, and development of a strong supply chain for cutting-edge technology systems. According to Ola, the offer to India is in complete synergy with the 'Make in India' concept through which a generational shift in full spectrum fighter capabilities will accelerate the indigenous defence and industrial ambitions. "We are focused on building indigenous capabilities to design, develop, produce, and maintain a modern state-of the art fighter system platform," says Ola.
Saab had earlier revealed that its industrial cooperation offer will be a dual-track proposal where one part will consist of production, design, and development of Gripen. The second part will be about providing capability to and supporting the development of indigenous platforms such as the AMCA. The MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) solution will further provide India with capabilities to maintain and upgrade the aircraft as needed in the future. Because of this, it will not be necessary for Saab to take the fighters back to Sweden for repairs or overhauls.