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Saab Global

Gripen Offer for India

3 min read

When a country buys a new fleet of fighter aircraft, it is a big and a long-term investment. For a country like India, having a large fleet that delivers high performance in various roles for years to come is a must. At the same time, there is a requirement for a strategic industrial cooperation that is in line with the Prime Minister’s Make in India concept. The need is not just to develop capability to develop fighters for domestic consumption, but even foray into exports in the future.

Saab’s offer centres around both operational as well as industrial capability enhancement. When selected, Saab will only build 18 of the required 114 aircraft in Sweden; the rest will be produced in India.

A fighter that dominates the skies

With India’s vast border area that needs constant surveillance and protection amidst frequent security issues, the country needs a fighter that spends maximum time in the air instead of a hangar. Gripen doesn’t need complex base facilities to be able to operate. A small team of technicians can change a Gripen engine in less than an hour, refuelling takes about ten minutes, and the fighter can be made ready for the next air-to-air mission in ten minutes.

With the latest EW technologies incorporated, the Gripen pilot has all the capabilities to disrupt an enemy’s ability to function effectively during a mission. With AESA-radar, InfraRed Search and Track System (IRST), the fighter can act undetected while giving the pilot capabilities to handle multiple threats.

Technology transfer program like no other

Saab has stated from the early beginning that the Gripen offer to India will be more than just transferring assembly lines. It is about creating a setup that encompasses all industrial activities related to the Gripen development and production. The Swedish defence and security company has done this before; its technology transfer program in Brazil kicked off in 2015, only 1.5 years after the contract was signed. By 2024, when Brazil’s order would be completed, about 350 engineers and technicians would have experienced working on shared technologies together.

Reasonable flight hour cost

As compared to its competitors, Gripen E has been designed to extract maximum performance without breaking the cost curve, courtesy years of Swedish experience of creating solutions suitable for limited defence budgets.

Gripen is cost-effective not just in terms of procurement, but also of their life-cycle cost. When you buy an aircraft fleet that should last for 30 to 40 years, life-cycle cost becomes very important due to the amount of money invested.

“Because of high availability and low cost of operations, with the same fleet size and budget (as any other modern fighter), Gripen can bring the IAF four times the air power,’’ says Jussi Halmetoja, Operations Adviser of Air Domain at Saab Aeronautics, and a former Gripen pilot.