Adani, Saab tie-up; to pitch Gripen jets to India

Defence and security company Saab, maker of Gripen jets, has tied up with India’s Adani Group for aerospace and defence production in India.

“The intended collaboration would encompass design, development and production of Gripen for India and other high-tech products of national importance for India and also the creation of joint ventures in India in line with and in support of the Make In India policy,” the Indian group said.

One of the first products to be offered will be the Gripen fighter, which is considered a generation 4.5 fighter.

“The intended collaboration would include Gripen for India,” the Indian company said.

“Gripen would be offered to the Indian Government as the best solution for India’s single-engine fighter aircraft programme,” it said.

At present, Tejas 1A and Tejas II are the primary candidates for India’s single-engine fighter program.

Like Tejas, Gripen is seen as a ‘light’ jet, and is cheaper than Generation 5 models like F-35.

India needs around 300 light combat jets, out of which Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd is supposed to supply 40 Tejas Mark I jets — the first ‘generation’ of the first even Indian fighter jet.

From 2019 onwards, HAL is supposed to work on supplying 83 upgraded Mark 1, called Mark 1A. The Mark II will be the second generation of Tejas range, but the aircraft is still in design stages, and will start rolling off the production line around 2024.

The Saab-Adani collaboration would also include projects, programs and technologies of national importance to India, Adani said.

“The parties’ plan to develop the relationship into a structure of joint ventures in India for execution of the programs, including the single engine fighter program, in order to support the Make in India policy and exhibit the parties long term commitment to be jointly successful.”

Gripen can perform all air-to-air, air-to-surface and reconaissance missions with the most modern range of weapons and systems, it said.

The two will discuss possibilities to offer solutions to bring required design and manufacturing capabilities in defence and aerospace to India, it said.

“A collaboration between Saab and Adani will combine the technical and product excellence of Saab, along with the industrial engineering, system integration and mega project execution capabilities of Adani with the intention to manufacture defence systems locally in India,” Adani said.

India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been keen to have as much of its defence procurements produced locally as possible and has been offering all kinds of carrots and preferential treatment for any multinational company willing to set up factories here.

Saab and Adani will explore how to cooperate to develop a wider aerospace and defence ecosystem in India.

They would encourage the development of small and medium sized enterprises along with a robust national supply chain, the company said.

“We are committed to the India-Sweden relationship and in bringing the latest technology and skills to India,” says Håkan Buskhe, CEO and President of Saab AB.

“The Adani Group is one of India’s largest global conglomerates. Adani Group has a long history of enterpreneurship, spanning through decades of dynamic growth.”

“Our plans in India are to create a new defence eco-system that would involve many partners, vendors and suppliers. To achieve this, we need a strong Indian partner who can help create the framework for the infrastructure and eco- system to come into place,” says Håkan Buskhe, CEO and President of Saab.

“Our various collaborations in aerospace and defence sectors will help establish new production lines in India, generate employment and build sustainable skills,” said Gautam Adani, Chairman of Adani Group.