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Saab will Hand Over Full Capabilities to India Should it Select Gripen: Ola Rignell

3 min read

When countries buy state of the art weapon systems, the question remains how much will the domestic industry benefit not in terms of current work on the project alone but build-up of capability. When asked by Business World about technology transfer, Ola Rignell, Chairman and Managing Director Saab India said, “We will not only support a design, development, and a production facility but also offer in-country support. We will not only transfer all capability for building the Gripen fighter for the MRFA programme but also for developing different aspects of an aircraft that will support other indigenous programmes. Saab will hand over full capabilities to India which is not licensed production but is actually handing over of capabilities which was also stressed by our Prime Minister, should India and Sweden join hands in defence.”

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The India Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft programme is structured around 114 aircraft, 18 of which would be produced in the country of origin and the remaining 96 produced in India.

“It is at least a 40-year long commitment, not only between the two governments but between Indian Government and the Swedish industry, primarily Saab,” says Ola.

Saab has provided a comprehensive response to the Request for Information for fighter aircraft to the Indian Air Force. The Saab proposal supports India´s ambition for stronger indigenous capabilities and self-reliance with latest technologies for development and production of future fighters, like the AMCA.

Saab’s offer will enable Indian companies to take part in the industrial process of the world’s most advanced fighter by absorbing state-of-the-art capabilities and technologies with applications in both the military and civilian sectors. Through the Make in India initiative, a generational shift in full spectrum fighter capabilities will accelerate the indigenous defence and industrial ambitions.

The offer consists of the most comprehensive Transfer of Capability packages focused on building indigenous capabilities to design, develop, produce and maintain a modern state of the art fighter system platform.

Saab is going far beyond shifting an assembly line to India. The offer provides for building of self- reliant skills in India and it consist of a production-oriented part, a design and development oriented part, related to Gripen.

Saab will also provide a capability-oriented design & development part that is intended to support the indigenous development of advanced fighter aircraft such as AMCA, possibly in close cooperation with ADA and DRDO. The offer also includes an extensive indigenous MRO solution that will provide India with capabilities to maintain and upgrade the aircraft as needed in the future.

The build-up of those capabilities will require substantial investments from Saab, the Indian side as well as from Saab’s International partners.

Investments will need to be made in facilities, training, machinery etc. Those investments will also serve as a baseline to create thousands of job-opportunities for skilled workers as well as for engineers and technicians. The spill-over effect will be substantial and also DPSUs will be able to benefit significantly from Transfer of Technology or Transfer of Capabilities.

The overall aim is to build an eco-system that can support with local manufacturing of parts for Saab as well as for Saab’s system partners/suppliers. Saab success over the years in forging meaningful partnerships is because the industrial cooperation forms a natural and integral part of any new business initiative. Saab is already sourcing aerostructures parts, such as sub-assemblies, machined parts and sheet metal parts and is continuing to undertake further surveys in the aerostructures area. Saab is now continuing on that process, together with its system partners, to reach optimum localization.