New Delhi: Eyeing stake in the multi-Billion dollar modernization plan of Indian Air Force Swedish defense major Saab has offered to manufacture its fifth generation Gripen fighter aircraft here with technology transfer to India.
Saab, which had lost out in the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft tender in 2011 which was won by French firm Dassault Aviation, anticipates that the Indian Air Force (IAF) will need more the 36 Rafale fighter jets that India is buying from France to beef up its depleting fleet.
Saab is not only offering to set up a base here but also help in the development of aerospace capability for the next 100 years and partner in developing the next version of indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas and the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), being developed and designed by Aeronautical Development Agency.
Ulf Nilsson, head of Saab’s aeronautics division, told PTI that the company is already doing its homework and identifying partners for collaboration.
Saab (India) chief Jan Widerstrom said the company is also ready to stick by New Delhi’s negative list, as was made clear by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in an interview to PTI last month, when it comes to exporting fighter aircraft from India to other countries.
The Indian Air Force had in October said it would need at least six additional squadrons comprising 108 Rafale fighter jets or similar jets to shore up its capabilities.
With the government cancelling the multi-billion tender for 126 MMRCA, there is renewed hope in the aviation industry that India may go in for fresh bids to fill up the gaps.