Swedish Defence Major Saab offers To Set Up Gripen- E Fighter Production Facility Under Make In India
New Delhi, 10 February 2017
Swedish Defence Company Saab offers to manufacture modern and smart fighter jet Gripen- E under “Make In India” program for which it has rolled out the plans to set up world’s most modern ecosystem and facility in India if it wins the defence deal. Swedish defence company’s Gripen E Prototype which was rolled last year draws its component from various companies in many countries including GE 414 Engines from USA. Saab’s Director- Sales and Marketing, Kent-Ake-Molin, however shun the concerns that Washington may attempt to block its bid to manufacture the Gripen E fighter jet in India.
The MoD has already issued a Request For Information (RFI) to procure a fleet of single- engine fighters for Indian Air Force (IAF). US defence company Lockheed Martin is a major competitor for Saab bidding for the deal. Lockheed Martin has earlier offered to completely shift a F-16 fighter production line to India to manufacture fighter jets under PM Modi’s “Make In India” program.
US President, Donald Trump, however, hinted at more than one occasion that he is against US Companies to move out of US.
“What we have control over the core of the system meaning avionics system, the software. But when it comes to the vehicle system side Yes, there are some American components but looking at it, there is wide cooperation between India and America”. “We have no thinking that the technology that goes into Gripen would be subject to (… any restrictions). We have no reason to worry about”, explained Kent-Ake Molin.
To the NationalDefence question as How would the company ensure the supplies of spares, components and weapons in a continuously dynamic and flux geopolitical scenario, Kent-Ake Molin explained, “It’s an international partnership in that respect. That’s also one of the secret with Gripen. We don’t select domestic suppliers, we select the best then we have the integration capability to draw out the best”. “We have suppliers from UK, we have from America, it is off course of Swedish origin, some also in France in certain countries. In order to have indigenous capability for long term sustainability this is a natural situation in a global environment and that is the situation we all have”. “… it is actually very difficult to be the best without the partnership with other countries”.
Gripen E with Weapons
India for long has faced issues of timely and cost effective supply of spares and components when it needed them the most. This was more frequent in case of Russia which deals through Rosoboronexport, the sole contractor for spares for variety of Russian defence platforms. Given the increasing closeness with US in existing geo-political scenario, Indian Government’s defence procurement has largely shifted and tilted to US side. BUY VALENTINE GIFT
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 17 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.