Swedish aerospace major Saab and Indian infrastructure conglomerate Adani Group on Friday announced collaboration in the aerospace and defence sector, eyeing to produce the Gripen fighter jets in India under the Make in India programme.
Hakan Buskhe, CEO and President of Saab, and Chairman of Adani Group Gautam Adani said the collaboration would include technology transfer, and would not be just an assembly line.
The two companies are looking forward to manufacture single- engine fighter aircraft for India under the Strategic Partnership model, announced by the government.
Asked if the two companies were confident of being selected for making fighter aircraft under the SP model, Buskhe said he was confident that Saab had the best technology to offer.
“We will look into what kind of action we need to take. We believe we have a strong partnership that can meet the requirements of the government. We have a strong belief that we can qualify with our technology, it is the latest one to fit the need of the (Indian) Air Force,” Buskhe said.
“We wouldn’t have taken this step if we didn’t believe that we could be successful,” he said.
The Saab CEO added that at present they are focused only on making aircraft and sensors in India.
Adani said the step was taken in line with the group’s vision of ‘nation building’.
“In continuation of our vision of nation building, we are keen to play an instrumental role in helping transform India into a destination for world-class high-tech defence manufacturing,” Adani said.
India is looking to replace its fleet of Russian MiG-21 and MiG 27 aircraft. A process for making single engine aircraft in the country is expected to be initiated soon under the new SP model.
In June this year, Tata Advanced Systems Ltd and US plane maker Lockheed Martin signed an agreement to produce F-16 fighters in India, which will provide the main competition for the Saab-Adani tie-up.
Under the Strategic Partnership policy, Indian industry majors will be identified as a strategic partner for tie-up with global original equipment manufacturers to seek technology transfer and manufacturing know-how to set up domestic manufacturing infrastructure and supply chains in defence manufacturing.
Four sectors have been finalised for the model at present – fighter aircraft, helicopters, submarines and armoured fighting vehicles and main battle tanks.