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Saab could build products and solutions here in India, by Indians, for India and even for exports

4 min read

Interview with Ola Rignell, Chairman and Managing Director, Saab India

Ola Rignell with Gripen

What is Saab and Sweden’s approach to technology transfer and collaboration with Indian defence industry?

Sweden and Saab have a proven track record of being open to sharing critical technology with our customers and partners worldwide.

We see a perfect match between the skilled Indian work force and Swedish know-how in the defence industry. Saab could build products and solutions here in India, by Indians, for India as well as for export. This will create high-tech jobs in high end manufacturing as well as education in defence engineering through collaboration with IITs/Indian Universities & Swedish Universities and also have a spin-off effect for other areas.

Our plans in India are based not just on selling products but on creating a defence eco-system which would involve hundreds of Tier 1, 2 and 3 partners, vendors and suppliers. Saab would incubate partnerships between its global supply chain and Indian suppliers. Saab would also foster R&D partnerships for next-generation platform, system and sub-system design and development across the industry.

How does Saab look at partnership with Indian companies?

Saab Aerostructures have had presence in India for more than ten years. Today Saab Aerostructures are seen as one of the most successful aerostructures companies when it comes to establishing an Indian Supply Chain.

We currently have a large group of suppliers, our own Joint-venture facility for Assembly work and our own supply chain representative in the country.

In parallel, we have assisted in the analysis and qualification of a number of process houses, tooling, machine and sheet metal shops.

One of the major success factors has been the combination of understanding the Indian appetite for aerospace and our unique skills in the transfer of knowhow, technology and production set up.

Sourcing in India is an already established eco-system. Over the years, Saab has sourced Civil Aerospace parts from CIM Tools, ASMI (Aerostructures Manufacturing India), AAI (Aerostructures Assemblies India), TAML (Tata Advanced Materials), Sansera Engineering and Mahindra Aerostructures.

Specifically, for a programme like the MRFA, what does Saab propose on the industrial side?

Saab has presented an offer that delivers the perfect fighter for India’s current and future needs. It furthermore supports India´s ambition for stronger indigenous capabilities with latest technologies for development and production of future fighters, like the AMCA.

Saab’s offer to India will enable Indian companies to take part in the industrial process of the worlds 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 defence and industrial ambitions.

The offer consist also 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.

The build-up of those capabilities will require substantial investments from the Indian as well as from the 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 in the execution phase can support with local manufacturing of parts for ourselves as well as for our system partners/suppliers. We have already undertaken surveys for aerostructures parts, such as sub-assemblies, machined parts and sheet metal parts.

Already, the Saab India Tech Center (SITC) in Hyderabad together with Tech Mahindra, is currently undertaking Gripen development work. Launched in 2012, the joint venture between Saab and Tech Mahindra has Indian engineers and consultants working in the areas of mechanics, stress calculations, and software development and verification. SITC is a good example of technology transfer where engineers in Hyderabad work with engineers at Saab despite the geographical distance.