by Mats Palmberg
(Vice President (Industrial Partnerships) SAAB AB and Head of Gripen India Campaign)

The Gripen E has been ordered by the Air Forces of Brazil and Sweden and deliveries have begun to both nations. The Gripen E has been developed to counter – and defeat – the most advanced threats in the modern battlespace. Its unique architecture makes this an intelligent fighter system that continuously evolves by rapidly embracing new technology and tactics in a manner that will always keep the IAF one step ahead. The Gripen E is arguably the most modern fighter in the world today and along with its weaponry, including the game-changing, Meteor BVR (Beyond Visual Range) missile, the Gripen E will give India an edge against all its adversaries. 

Latest high performance sensors such as the AESA radar, IRST system, advanced datalinks and AI-enabled decision support gives the Gripen E pilot superior situational awareness and ability to “see first-act first”. The Gripen E for India Its low visual and electronic signatures with a fully integrated onboard self-defence and ECM suite with 360 degree spherical coverage, together with latest and most advanced weapons available, secures its mission success and brings the pilot home safe.

With its combat performance and power projection capability, the Gripen-E will assuredly provide the IAF with deterrence power in the region.

The Offer For India

We have provided a comprehensive response to the IAF’s Request for Information concerning fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force. The SAAB proposal delivers the perfect fighter for India’s current and future needs. Furthermore it supports India ́s ambition for stronger indigenous capabilities and self-reliance with the latest technologies for development and production of future fighters, such as the futuristic AMCA.

SAAB’s offer will enable Indian companies to take part in industrial processes of the world’s most advanced fighter, absorbing state-of-the-art capabilities and technologies with applications in both the military and civilian sectors. Through the Make in India initiative, a generational shift in full spectrum fighter capabilities will accelerate India’s indigenous defence and industrial ambitions.

The offer consists of very comprehensive Transfer of Capability packages focused on building indigenous abilities to design, develop, produce and maintain a modern state-of the-art fighter system platform. SAAB are going far beyond shifting any assembly line to India. Our offer provides for building self-reliant skills in India and consists of a production-oriented part, a  design  and  development-oriented  part  related  to  the  Gripen.  SAAB will  also  provide  a  capability-oriented  design  &  development  aspect  that  is  intended  to  support  the  indigenous  development  of  advanced fighter aircraft such as the AMCA, possibly  in  close  cooperation  with  ADA  and  the  DRDO.    The  offer  also  includes  an  extensive  indigenous  MRO  solution  that will provide India with capabilities to maintain  –  and  upgrade  –  the  aircraft  as  needed in the future. 

The  build-up  of  these  capabilities  will  require  substantial  investments  from  SAAB,  the  Indian  side  as  well  as  from  our  International  partners.  Investments  will  need  to  be  made  in  facilities,  training,  machinery  and  so  on.  However,  these  investments  will  very  much  serve  as  a  baseline  to  create  thousands  of  job-opportunities  for  skilled  workers  as  well  as  for  engineers  and  technicians.  The  spill-over effect will be substantial and also DPSUs will be able to benefit significantly from Transfer of Technology or Transfer of Capabilities.

The  overall  aim  is  to  build  an  eco-system  that  in  the  execution  phase  that  can  support  with  local  manufacturing  of  parts for ourselves as well as for our system partners/suppliers. SAAB’s successes over the years in forging meaningful partnerships is because the industrial cooperation forms a natural and integral part of any new business initiative. We are already sourcing aero-structures parts, such as sub-assemblies, machined parts and  sheet  metal  parts  and  are  continuing  to  undertake  further  surveys  in  the  aero-structures  area.  We  are  now  continuing  on  that  process,  together  with  our  system  partners, in order to find the right partners for  our  partners  so  as  to  reach  optimum  localisation.