Saab Scouts for partners for manufacturing Gripen in India
To create a world-class fighter aircraft manufacturing base in a country, it is important to build a strong network of partner firms first. This month, Saab’s Gripen team went on a road trip to major Indian cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai to have conversations with suppliers in areas such as electronic warfare, surveillance and avionics.
The team took a tour of the facilities of these companies to get an understanding of the kind of equipment being used, production volume, capacity utilization, certifications, manufacturing support, logistics, and industrial practices in general.
“The goal of the road trip was to get an overview of the available capabilities in the country, understand the ways of working, and have serious discussions on possibilities of cooperation in the future, if Gripen is procured under the MRFA. It is all about building an ecosystem in India,” says Jan-Åke Larsson, Head of Industrial set-up, Gripen India.
The ecosystem-building exercise was targeted at finding potential partners for INAC (Indian Aircraft Company, Saab’s proposed Gripen manufacturing unit in India) and for getting into dialogues with companies for supplying components for Saab products including Gripen.
“We were happy to see a huge interest from these companies. They are keen to expand and are interested to join hands with new partners to increase their footprint in the country. If India selects Gripen, these companies would like to play the role of a supplier.
When asked about his views on the capabilities of the suppliers the team met, Jan-Åke says that they saw great potential. “These are companies that export high-quality defence products to clients across the globe. They are working on large projects. Of course, they know what they are doing. Our team was particularly impressed with their vision, processes, personnel, and willingness to absorb new technologies,” Jan-Åke says.
About their compatibility with Saab, Fredrik Gerdland, Strategic Sourcing Manager, Saab Surveillance, says, “We saw good compatibility within design and testing domains. There is a scope of co-developing or sourcing several components for aeronautics, surveillance, and embedded software among other things.”