Saab CBRN Products Are Designed From User’s Perspective
Peter Erlingborn, Marketing Director, Support and Services, Saab India talks about Saab’s involvement in the Indian CBRN market.
What is your strategy to enter into the Indian market with your CBRN products?
It is kind of two-fold. We have a system and we have standard products. For the standard products, the strategy is to find a distributor in India who could act on behalf of Saab for these products. However, for the system we think we should keep that within Saab for one or two years until we try and find a distributor.
The system sale is something different from the product sales. For the system sales, we are trying to focus not only on the military market but also the civilian sector. Because the CBRN concept is such- it is about protecting people and it has a requirement not only in the industries, but also with the armed forces.
Are there any military or civilian programmes that you are currently part of? Which among those will be your priority?
We haven’t prioritised any particular programme as of now. We see opportunities both in the civil sector and the defence market. The programmes, however, would depend on the requirement for the system or the standard products.
Some of our products can very well be used in the hospitals, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), different parts of the Army, it can be used in the paramilitary forces, fire brigades, police force. We have decided to try and see what a distributor can come up with. For the systems, our approach is a little bit different. There we would like to find a foothold somewhere and have discussions about the capabilities and functionalities that we can offer with our system.
How do you assess the Indian market for the CBRN? What new things are you going to bring in to this market?
In the civil sector, there must be some monitoring systems already in place to detect the nuclear plants. In case of accidents such as earthquakes, there must be some monitoring systems to detect the nuclear or radioactive disasters as well. Then there are nuclear stations and chemical industries along the border in the neighbouring countries that may not be built up in the system. That should also be monitored should there be some accident in the neighbouring countries.
What we are looking for, is a nation-wide detection system. Some infrastructure for the CBRN is certainly in place in India, but I think that we can bring in an enhanced nation-wide monitoring system.
What systems and products are you offering to the Indian market?
Traditionally if you are talking about CBRN, we have been talking previously about DIM system and WR system. DIM stands for Detection, Identification and Monitoring. And there is a supplementary system called Weather Reporting (WR). What we have, which is almost unique, is that we have combined that two to one system called AWR (Automatic warning and reporting).
The system as such can be used in various ways- you can use with the Google maps as a bench and you can display the resulting inputs from the AWR system. That is for more stationary usage and very well suited for the civilian applications. For the military, they would like to use the system for their tactical purposes. The AWR system in that case becomes a part of the larger battle management system.
Any system is strong or weak depending on the inputs that are given to it. Therefore the need here is to have good detectors. For the civilian applications, Saab is not providing any detectors and the customers can choose any kind of detectors depending on the requirement. For the military applications, we can put the detectors and the sensors in the ethos that can be deployable in any place, or can also be fitted on soldiers. As they move along, one needs to have a real time system to understand as things move on the map. Google maps would not work in that case, there has to be a much higher degree of functionality of the system.
How is this system different from other products available in the market?
I am not aware of anybody offering any system that takes care of detection, identification and monitoring (DIM) as well as weather reporting (WR). We have combined both these functionalities into one single system. This is still a new concept in India.
What kind of flexible options can you offer for your products and systems in India?
The whole thing is that from a user perspective, you like to see certain parameters; very simply it should be user friendly system. The benefit with our system is that we bring a lot of parameters in to the same view for the system.
What we can do is that we can bring in some functionality so it will be very easy to observe what has happened and to give the users easy methods and also how to proceed in case of any detected danger.
What kind of response did you get for these products in India?
We got very good feedback from the armed forces. In fact, there are some RFPs recently related to such products already. Though our products are out of scope for these RFPs, we assess that there will be a requirement for our CBRN products. The Indian Army is planning to procure some of the decontamination systems and they are also procuring special jackets for soldiers to protect them from exposure.
What we offer to India is the monitoring system. We also can offer a kit that is used to take samples. The third element that I would like to focus on is that we have developed a unique container that can carry chemical, biological and also nuclear samples. Once it is sealed, it can be transported even in the public transportation system. No special transportation is required for this container.
Which Indian agencies have you interacted with, regarding the CBRN systems?
We have interacted with DRDO, and we have been talking to NDMA and different parts of the Army. We also had some brief discussions with the Air Force.