Saab teams up with Adani group to build fighter jets in India

Saab to partner India's Adani in major fighter jet deal reports

Saab to partner India's Adani in major fighter jet deal reports

Lockheed Martin Corp. of the United States has already picked Tata Advanced Systems Ltd, a subsidiary of Tata Sons as its local partner to produce F-16s that will compete for the contract with Saab's Gripen.

Chairman of Adani Group Gautam Adani said his company's tie-up with Saab is in sync with its plan to get into high-tech defence manufacturing.

The Defence Ministry announced its plans for opening up strategic partnership for four major prgorammes, including the single engine fighters to make up the shortage of over 100 jets after the government made a decision to acquire 36 Rafale from French through government-to-government route.

"Our plans in India are to create a new defence ecosystem that will involve many partners, vendors and suppliers".

However, the Government of India is set to issue a formal request to Lockheed and Saab to provide information about their plans to design, develop and produce combat jets in India, a government official said.

The announcement of the agreement was made at the Paris Airshow on June 19, where both the companies said that moving the production base to India would still retain jobs in the United States. "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.

To a question on what Adani Group, with no background in aerospace, would bring to the table, Ashish Rajvanshi, head of defence and aerospace at Adani Group, said that a few years back the Tatas and Reliance Group had no experience in the power sector but were now running large units.

The Indian Air Force needs hundreds of aircraft to replace its Soviet-era fleet; PM Modi wants the planes built in India to help boost the domestic industrial base and cut imports. The collaboration would also include projects, programs and technologies of national importance to India.

Saab said it is also looking at supplying the Indian Navy a version of Gripen with advanced features to take off from aircraft carriers.

Asked whether technology transfer would be hard as Gripen jet engine has components developed by USA defence majors, particularly under Donald Trump's presidency, Bushke said there should not be any problem over it.

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