Swedish defence major SAAB is optimistic about getting the Indian Air Force contract for over 100 single-engine fighter jets and feels that it has the best technology with the lowest total cost of ownership when compared to the other competitors in the fray for its fighter aircraft Gripen E. The company had also gone into a joint venture (JV) with the Adani Group to develop the aircraft in India. For the contract, it is competing against players such as the United States aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin that had also entered into an agreement with the Tata Advanced Systems Limited.
The Swedish company, that has around 17,000 employees globally, is showcasing a Gripen E mission simulator at the Aero India 2019 in Bengaluru which will help it demonstrate as to how its fighter aircraft maximizes operational effect in future battle space. The company claims that Gripen E has been developed to counter and defeat the most advanced threats in a modern battle space. The company has also built an intelligent fighter system for the aircraft. Currently, the company is planning to start the supply of the jets to the Brazilian Air Force in the next one year or so, for which it had got a contract a few years ago.
“In case we get the IAF contract we will do the final assembly in India. We have the best product and one of the best that can be offered in the market, with the lowest total cost of ownership when compared to our competitors. We have sold fighter aircrafts to the Thai Air Force, Hungarian Air Force, and South African Air Force. We had got the order for Gripen from Brazil and we are in the process of supplying around 36 Gripen E aircrafts to them and the delivery may start in a year or so,” Mats Palmberg, vice president, Industrial Partnerships, Business Area Aeronautics for SAAB told THE WEEK.
For the Brazilian contract, the company has developed a full assembly line in Brazil and hopes to do the same in case they get the Indian Air Force contract. “In case we get the contract in India we will do the final assembly line here in India and also do the structural assembly here. We will also be sharing our latest technology here in India in case we get the contract. This time we were not able to get the actual aircraft for a demonstration because there was confusion about the venue for the Aero India 2019 which was announced a little late,” added Palmberg.